Category Archives: Thoughts About Legal/Ethical Decision Making in Mental Health

Identifying the Primary Client in Mental Health: Conflicts of Interest

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Everything You Always Wanted to Know About the NASW Code of Ethics But Were Afraid to Ask: What Truths the Code Reveals

I am frequently asked by students why I recommend a law-based system for decision makin in the mental health professions, including social work, psychology and counseling. The answer, without oversimplifying it, is that professional codes of ethics impart very limited … Continue reading

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Conversion Therapy: A Violation of Informed Consent

Much has been written in recent months about the California law enacted to place a ban on the use of “conversion therapy” as a pseudo-treatment to “change” the sexual orientation of gay people. The basis of the California law is … Continue reading

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Is substance abuse by a parent proof positive of child abuse or neglect?

This dilemma is inspired by a recent episode of the wonderful dramatic show “In Plain Sight”: In the show, divorcing parents with two school-aged children each accuse the other of abusing and neglecting their children. The husband, who is a … Continue reading

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Can misleading advertising violate informed consent?

Happy new year everyone! During a trip to Albuquerque recently as I was driving along the highway I noticed a billboard promoting a law office. The sign said, among other things, that the firm was “powerful.” If one considers the … Continue reading

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Legal issues in clinical supervision

As readers of this blog have noticed, I have presented a series of professional dilemmas derived from similar case scenarios in well-known ethics treatises. As with the other dilemmas I have presented, I wish to make the case that many … Continue reading

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Defining “client”: What does the NASW Code of Ethics say?

The website and blog frequently discuss the importance of coming to an understanding about what it means to be the “client” of  a mental health provider. Specifically, a mental health practitioner cannot lawfully provide services to a person unless and until … Continue reading

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Revisiting the failure of the NASW Code of Ethics

This blog and the website associated with it present a law based strategy for the resolution of practice dilemmas in the mental health professions. One of those professions is social work, whose members are bound by the tenets of the … Continue reading

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The failure of the NASW Code of Ethics

I am frequently asked by students why I recommend a law-based system for decision makin in the mental health professions, including social work, psychology and counseling. The answer, without oversimplifying it, is that professional codes of ethics impart very limited … Continue reading

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On academic behavioral codes and “counseling out”

I have recently found myself participating in several group discussions concerning the subject of how we social work academics should go about drafting behavioral codes for our schools. Some have suggested adopting very inclusive codes that attempt to cover every … Continue reading

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