Tag Archives: mental health law

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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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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How far “to go” about a colleague’s unethical/unlawful behavior.

A well-known and standard ethics text offers the following scenario: A clinical social worker at a community mental health center has a caseload that includes clients who have been diagnosed with symptoms of schizophrenia and affective disorders. The social worker’s … Continue reading

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Managing a potential conflict of interest in mental health services

Consider this scenario: you are a direct service provider offering mental health counseling to individuals and families. A young woman and her mother visit your office seeking assistance with their personal relationship. You elect to assess them together during their … Continue reading

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Adolescent sexual activity, birth control, and confidentiality

Happy new year, everyone! I’m back with my take on a practice scenario that has been portrayed in several different ways in several ethics textbooks as an “ethical dilemma.” As with most of the examples pesented on this blog, this dilemma in actuality … Continue reading

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Exploring the right of privacy and self-determination

It is an oft-cited position presented in this blog and website that the law based decision making system offered here provides the most effective and efficient approach to the resolution of practice dilemmas in the mental health professions. A frequent … Continue reading

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Confidentiality after a client’s death

Here’s an interesting case scenario that was presented in an ethics textbook as an example of an ethical dilemma. You’ll find rather quickly that it has a simple legal resolution: You are employed at a community mental health center and … Continue reading

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The duty to report sexual abuse

I recently came across an astounding scenario in a standard ethics textbook. I use the term “astounding” because it presents an example of a clear, legal problem that is in reality not an ethical dilemma at all! I’m going to paraphrase the … 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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