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New Perspectives on Ethics, Clifton Mitchell, Session 3: Comment Board


clifton_mitchellThank you for attending the third session of New Perspectives on Practice, “Ethical Standards for the 21st Century.” Today’s session with Clifton Mitchell--“The Therapist’s Duty to Warn, Report Abuse and Rape, and Handle Self-Injurious Behavior” will cover the latest legal developments concerning therapists’ obligation to prevent clients from harming themselves or others. We’ll explore the responsibilities and the limitations of confidentiality and other ethical situations, such as how to handle clients’ self-injurious behaviors.

We hope you come away from this session with a better understanding of what’s required of therapists ethically and how to better deal with situations like clients who self-harm. What do you think was most relevant from today’s session? What was most applicable to you in your everyday practice? Do you have any related experiences that would be helpful to other participants?

Please take a minute to consider these questions and everything you’ve learned so far throughout this webinar, and comment below about what’s most striking to you.

As always, we invite you to please include your name and hometown with your comment. Thank you all for your participation and thought-provoking comments.

01.31.2011   Posted In: P002 New Perspectives: Ethical Standards for the 21st Century Practitioner   By Rich Simon
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    • Not available avatar 02.01.2011 07:25
      A very good presentation, but I must echo the comment about the overlapping discussions. I am hopeful you will be able to find a suitable fix for this problem before the next presentation.

      On another note, the presenter implied that mental health providers are always in the role of mandated reporter. My reading has suggested that only when the provider is actually acting in the capacity of therapist is s/he a mandated reporter. For example, if walking in the park with your family you observe a parent abusing a child, you are not mandated to report that since you were not acting in your capacity of a mental health provider. This does not stop you from reporting as a "regular citizen", but you are not REQUIRED to report.

      The slide about the neighbor was also a bit confusing. If the neighbor was acting as a caretaker at the time (Hey, Joe, can you watch my kid for awhile?), then it's definately reportable. But what if the neighbor was not put in the caretaker role (Hey Johnny, can you give me a hand carrying this firewood out back?)?

      Thanks in advance for your comments.

      Wayne, Springfield, MA
    • 0 avatar Diana Sillence 02.01.2011 08:10
      Diana, Lutz, FL
      I really enjoyed the different scenarios and our duty to warn, child abuse, etc. but it leaves much more for APA & the legal system to agree on definitions. To date, I have listened to my "gut" for duty to call in child abuse, neglect; or if there is no imminent danger, I believe it is better for the child and family to continue with therapy where in-home services are involved. In reference to FL, it would have been nice to have a link to the code of ethics available. Otherwise, thank you Dr. Mitchell for a great presentation.
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    • 0 avatar Melissa Sporn 02.05.2011 05:06
      I very much enjoyed the session. I think it reinforced many of my core beliefs about the mandate to report and the duty to warn. I would have liked a discussion of some of the more vague issues, as in, when you are not certain and you do not want to lose the client as this may be more of an ethical conflict.
    • 0 avatar Dawn Schatz 03.31.2011 19:48
      I enjoyed this session and as a previous person stated, I found it reinforcing in my practice. However, I was aware of one segment that was inaccurate, at least as it pertains to the state of Delaware. Dr. Mitchell explained that sexual abuse/sexual assault of a minor does not constitute child abuse as legal defined in most states and therefore, does not require a report. I do not expect Dr. Mitchell to know the ins and outs of every state law but since he did indicate that several states do include sexual assault as mandated reporting, I want to note that Delaware was omitted. "Sexual abuse of a child" (by anyone, regardless of age, be it an adult, another minor/peer, etc.) is defined as child abuse and requires a child abuse report in Delaware. The Delaware Attorney General's office has been emphatically emphasizing this with providers and the public. Delaware's law does not single out providers as mandated reporters either; all citizens are assigned this responsibility, although I know nothing of consequences for the general public of not abiding by this requirement. Thanks for another great and relevant session.
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