Very few ethics trainings specifically address working with a therapy client’s collaterals and interested parties within complex family and societal systems. This aspect of professional practice is extremely important for all of us, no matter the treatment setting or area of practice. Virtually any client case, even if it starts out otherwise, might at some point move into the school system, child welfare system, family courts, or simply begin to pull in other family members, emergency contacts, medical providers, etc.
Treating individuals as a part of the various systems within which they operate presents a number of ethical challenges. Cases involving children in the school system and/or the child welfare system require therapists to engage in complex interactions with various parties including: family members, teachers, school social workers and counselors, department of family services case workers, and even guardian ad litems. With mandated clients, multiple third party payers (e.g. DHS, DOC, etc.) may seek information from you regarding your client’s case. Working within these systems as a mental health provider requires constant vigilance around professional ethics, mandated reporting requirements, and compliance with the law and court orders, all while establishing the conditions for success in therapy.
In addition to the primary Course Objectives outlined below, learners will reflect on the nuances of working with individuals that operate within complex and often contentious societal systems. A review of a checklist for mandatory disclosure will also be provided to ensure the therapeutic relationship begins with a clear understanding of these challenging dynamics.
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This training will provide participants clinical knowledge and tools to:
a). Identify three aspects of mandatory disclosure specific to working with individuals in complex societal systems (family, legal, medical, etc.).
b). Identify two specifics regarding releases of information when working with individuals, collaterals, and interested parties within these systems.
c). Describe two ways to manage alliances drawn between family members, while maintaining the therapeutic relationship with the primary client.
d). Identify three significant areas of ethics that apply to these types of cases from the general ethics review offered in this training.
e). Name two strategies to deal effectively with payer sources often involved with Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) and mandated clients.
Clinical Mental Health Professionals such as Counselors, Psychologists, Marriage and Family Therapists, and Licensed Clinical Social Workers.
Instructional Level: Intermediate
Instructor(s): Jodi Ann Geis-Crowder, MS, LPC, ACS
Material Author(s): Jodi Ann Geis-Crowder, MS, LPC, ACS
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