Details of Ethics Continuing Education
Throughout their careers, psychotherapists are confronted with a variety of ethical questions and challenges. Many will face client complaints to licensing and regulatory authorities and some will even face threats of legal action.
The relationship between the therapist and the client shapes the extent to which clients will be able to change in psychotherapy (Markin, 2014). Outside of individual client factors, it accounts for more variability in treatment outcome than any other factor—including therapeutic technique or theoretical orientation (Norcross & Lambert, 2011).
Given that psychotherapy is relationship-based, how psychotherapists conduct themselves in these relationships has not only clinical but also significant ethical implications.
Current research indicates that relationship factors are critical in determining whether psychotherapists receive ethical complaints or malpractice claims.
In fact, providers who receive fewer claims are more likely to communicate more effectively with clients by providing clear information and explanations and inviting clients to express their opinions and concerns about treatment (Levinson et al., 1997).
In this workshop, we will discuss some of the most common ethical pitfalls that expose psychotherapists to ethics and malpractice complaints and how to avoid them. We will discuss topics including confidentiality, informed consent, mandatory reporting, and multiple relationships with a focus on digital ethics.
We will then discuss how attention to relationship factors and interpersonal communication can help providers manage ethical minefields more effectively. Finally, we will discuss practical steps that providers can take to manage risk exposure.
Learning Objectives of Continuing Education
- Participants will be able to fully discuss common ethical pitfalls that increase the risk of ethics and malpractice complaints and their parameters, including:
- The limits of confidentiality
- The role of a mandated reporter
- The concept of informed consent
- The dynamics of multiple relationships with a focus on digital ethics
- Participants will be able to describe relational factors and interpersonal communication techniques that can help manage risk exposure in these contexts
- Participants will be able to describe practical ways that they can manage risk while protecting their clients and upholding their personal values.