CA Law and Professional Ethics
Online Course Materials: Articles
PER BBS: Exam Restructure FAQs for Registrants (ASWs, AMFTs and APCC ONLY): “If you don’t pass the exam prior to your registration’s expiration date, you must complete a 12-hour course in California Law and Ethics before you will be allowed to retake the exam during the next renewal cycle.”
This course meets this 12-hour course requirement.
General Course Description
This comprehensive course provides early career clinicians as well as those applying for MFT, LCSW and LPCC licensure everything needed to develop a broad understanding of the laws and ethics associated with clinical practice. Tips and interactive engagement enable optimal learning, application and retention of the information.
This Foundational course offers 28 articles that cover all areas of legal and ethical issues associated with clinical practice. The course provides information on Confidentiality, Privilege and Consent; Limits to Confidentiality and Mandated Reporting; Legal Standards for Professional Practice (Sexual Conduct, Scope of Practice, Unprofessional Conduct, Fees, Third Party Payers, Advertising, Referral Fees); Professional Competence and the Prevention of Harm (Scope of Competence, Consultation, Clinician’s Self-Care, Referrals, Values and Beliefs of Clinician, Conflicts of Interest, Boundary Management); Therapeutic Relationship (Informed Consent, Concurrent Psychotherapy, Therapeutic Issues, Evaluation of Risk Factors, Impacts of Legal and Ethical Obligations on Psychotherapy, Issues of Diversity, Client Autonomy, Advocacy with Third Party Payers, Discontinuation or Termination of Treatment); and Business Practices and Policies (Advertising, Maintaining Clinical Records, Clarification of Roles, Electronics and Telehealth, Payment Policies, Gifts in Therapy, Research, Unethical or Unprofessional Conduct of Colleagues, Supervision). Additional resources for the clinician are provided at the end of the course.
- This course will teach the participant to
- Note the major requirements for making application for licensure as a marriage and family therapist.
- Define and delineate the scope of practice for marriage and family therapists.
- Describe the difference between scopes of practice and competence.
- Review the principle of confidentiality and its limitations.
- Define privilege and its intricacies.
- Describe the legal requirements associated with the treatment of minors.
- Note key laws related to the treatment of elder and dependent adults.
- Summarize the elements of informed consent and the laws and statutes which are associated with informed consent.
- Describe the legal requirements for documenting, storing, disposing of, maintaining and managing requests for medical records.
- Review the ethical and legal mandates related to sexual conduct.
- Summarize the actions that constitute unprofessional conduct for marriage and family therapists.
- Note the ethical and legal requirements associated with advertising.
- Board of Behavioral Sciences, CA . (2017).Statutes and Regulations Relating tothe Practices of Professional Clinical Counseling, Marriage and Family Therapy,Educational Psychology and Clinical SocialWork . Sacramento, CA: Board of Behavioral Sciences.Retrieved fromhttp://www.bbs.ca.gov/pdf/publications/lawsregs.pdf
- Butler, M.H. & Zamora, J.P. (2013).Ethical and Legal Concerns for MFTs in the Context of Clergy-Collaborative Care: Is What I Share Really Confidential?The American Journal of Family Therapy Vol. 41, 2.
- Coy, J. S., Lambert, J. E. and Miller, M. M. 2016). Stories of the accused: A phenomenological inquiry of MFTs and accusations of unprofessional conduct. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 42, 139–152. doi: 10.1111/jmft.12109.
- LICENSING REQUIREMENTS
- CONFIDENTIALITY, PRIVILEGE AND CONSENT
- Protecting client’s right to privacy
- Maintaining confidentiality when disseminating information
- Knowing who holds the privilege
- Impacts of privilege on treatment
- Privileged information in legal matters
- Treatment and complying with legal requirements when treating minors
- Maintaining Clinical Records
- Storage of records
- Disposal of records
- Maintaining confidentiality of records
- Managing requests for records
- Providing service in person or via telemental health
- Maintaining compliance with HIPAA laws
- LIMITS TO CONFIDENTIALITY
- Reporting suspected child, elder, and dependent adult abuse, neglect or exploitation
- Breaking confidentiality when clients are a danger to self, others or suffering grave disability
- Exceptions in legal proceedings
- LEGAL STANDARDS FOR PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE
- Compliance with laws and regulations associated with scope of practice and professional conduct
- Regulations associated with sexual contact/conduct between therapist and client
- Disclosure of fees and policies prior to initiating treatment and concerns with referral fees
- Awareness of legal issues associated with Inpatient treatment and patient rights
- Compliance with laws and regulations associated with third party payers and advertising
- PROFESSIONAL COMPETENCE AND PREVENTION OF HARM
- Professional Competence
- Consultation to manage issues associated with ethical conduct and scope of competence
- Maintenance of own health and well-being in order to provide competent service
- Referring for adjunctive services when in the client’s best interest
- Harm Prevention
- Maintaining professional boundaries
- Management of own beliefs, values and attitudes in order to protect against issues which might interfere with the provision of competent psychotherapy
- Evaluation of conflicts of interest
- Compliance with laws and regulations associated with sexual conduct and contact with current and former clients and collaterals
- Professional Competence
- THERAPEUTIC RELATIONSHIP
- Informed consent
- Assessing needs when client is receiving concurrent therapies
- Reviewing confidentiality, role of therapist, goals for treatment, treatment modalities
- Reviewing and managing any limits to confidentiality and impacts on the therapeutic relationship
- Evaluating risk factors that may impact the therapy
- Management of legal or ethical obligations during the course of therapy
- Awareness and process of issues associated with diversity
- Providing treatment that promotes client’s autonomy
- Client advocacy and third party payers
- Maintaining practices for continuity of care
- Termination of treatment when no longer benefitting the client
- BUSINESS PRACTICES AND POLICIES
- Advertising accurately and authentically
- Maintaining client records to document treatment and to guarantee confidentiality
- Promoting clarity of professional role
- Implement policies that address ethical issues associated with the use of electronic media and technology used in therapy
- Maintaining accurate fee and payment policies
- Compliance with laws and regulations associated with the receipt of gifts from clients
- Maintaining ethical guidelines when conducting research
- Managing unethical conduct of colleagues to safeguard clients
- Compliance with laws and regulations when engaged in a supervisorial relationship
- Law and Ethics Exam Study Tips