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Digital Seminar

Ethics: Top 10 Mistakes Made by Mental Health Professionals

Frederic G. Reamer, Ph.D.
2 Hours 51 Minutes
Dec 31, 2019
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Digital Seminar
Never expires.


Some tough ethical situations can’t be taught in school. They can only be learned through personal experience or from hearing of others’ personal experiences.

This recording will teach you how to manage 10 of the most challenging ethical situations a mental health professional can face. These real-world issues are the greatest liability and licensing board threats and arise far more frequently than most realize.

Purchase today and:

  • Learn How to Recognize and Avoid the Most Challenging Ethical Traps
  • Hear Case Studies that Provide Examples of What to Do and What Not to Do
  • Obtain Tips and Techniques that Can Be Implemented to Prevent Ethical Malpractice
  • Learn from a Colleague Who Has Served as an Expert Witness in hundreds of Court and Licensing Board Cases Nationwide



Frederic G. Reamer, Ph.D.'s Profile

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Rhode Island College

Frederic G. Reamer, PhD, has been a professor in the graduate program of the School of Social Work, Rhode Island College, Providence, Rhode Island, for over 30 years. Dr. Reamer received his PhD from the University of Chicago and has served as a social worker in correctional and mental health settings. He chaired the national task force that wrote the current National Association of Social Worker’s Code of Ethics.

Dr. Reamer lectures both nationally and internationally on the subjects of professional ethics and professional malpractice and liability. In addition to ethics, his research and teaching have addressed a wide range of human service issues, including mental health, health care, criminal justice, and public welfare. Dr. Reamer has conducted extensive research on professional ethics and has been involved in several national research projects sponsored by The Hastings Center, Carnegie Corporation, Haas Foundation, and Center for Bioethics of the University of Pennsylvania.

He is the author of chapters on professional ethics in the Encyclopedia of Social Work, the Encyclopedia of Bioethics, and the Encyclopedia of Applied Ethics, and is the author of many books, including: Risk Management in Social Work: Preventing Professional Malpractice, Liability, and Disciplinary Action; Boundary Issues and Dual Relationships in the Human Services; The Social Work Ethics Audit: A Risk Management Tool and his latest, On the Parole Board: Reflections on Crime, Punishment, Redemption, and Justice.


Speaker Disclosures:

Financial: Frederic Reamer has an employment relationship with Rhode Island College. He receives royalties as a published author. Frederic Reamer receives a speaking honorarium and recording royalties from PESI, Inc. He has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Frederic Reamer is a member of the National Association of Social Workers.

Additional Info

Program Information

Access for Self-Study (Non-Interactive)

Access never expires for this product.


  1. Identify high-risk areas for mental health professionals, including confidentiality, professional boundaries, dual relationships, conflicts of interest, and documentation, among others.
  2. Establish how to maintain ethical standards when utilizing technology to deliver services remotely (for example, using video, social media, text, and email), communicate with clients, and manage and store sensitive information.
  3. Apply practical, ethics-based protocols to protect clients and prevent lawsuits and licensing board complaints.


How Would You Handle These Ethical Challenges?

1) Failure to Protect Confidentiality

  • Scenario – A clinical psychologist disclosed clinical records in response to a subpoena without proper authorization.

2) Not Properly Balancing Minors & Parents Rights

  • Scenario – The mother of a 15-year old client requested a full copy of the psychotherapist’s notes.

3) Self-Disclosure – A Slippery Slope

  • Scenario – A client in an addictions treatment program asked his clinician whether he is in recovery and who he voted for in the last presidential election.

4) Challenging Dual Relationship Traps

  • Scenario – The clients of a marriage and family therapist offered her the free use of their vacation home.

5) Sticky Financial Issues - Billing, Fees and Gifts

  • Scenario – A client who was an unemployed painter had a large unpaid counselling bill and offered to paint the counsellor’s home to pay off the debt.

6) Duty to Warn – When to AND When Not to

  • Scenario – A clinical social worker in a mental health centre counselled a client who made threats against an unidentified estranged partner.

7) Inadequate Informed Consent

  • Scenario – A clinical psychologist provided distance counselling services to a client who filed a licensing board complaint alleging substandard informed consent protocols.

8) Social Media Common Ethical Challenges

  • Scenario – A case manager in a mental health agency received a Facebook “friend” request from a client with whom he often exchanged text messages using a messaging app that is not HIPAA compliant.

9) Distance Counseling

  • Scenario – The client of an addictions counsellor in private practice moved to another state and asked the counsellor to continue providing services to him using Skype and text messaging.

10) Complex Documentation Decisions

  • Scenario – The client of a mental health counsellor divulged that he had committed a murder several years earlier while under the influence of illegal substances. 

Target Audience

  • Counselors
  • Social Workers
  • Marriage & Family Therapists
  • Psychologists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Case Managers
  • Addiction Counselors
  • Therapists
  • Nurses
  • Other Mental Health Professionals

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