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Digital Seminar

Ethical Dilemmas and Decision Making in Behavioral Health: How to Practice in a Safe and Ethical Way

  • Ethical decision-making model to resolve or alleviate ethical dilemmas
  • Recognize and prevent problematic dual relationships and boundary transgressions
  • Identify ethical issues concerning confidentiality, informed consent and self-determination, recognize their limits, and employ safeguards in practice
  • Respond to subpoenas

As a mental health professional, you are confronted on a regular basis with the challenges of complex ethical and legal issues. Knowing and applying an ethical decision-making framework will provide you with tools to:

  • manage ethical issues in a systematic way
  • separate facts from assumptions and biases
  • track the potential harms of each course of action
  • formulate an ethical rationale for selecting the least harmful option
  • decide on the most appropriate way to implement your choice
  • assess what went wrong, or could go wrong, so you can prevent it from happening

Watch this recording and learn a unique decision making model that does not tell you which ethical principle is most important (as do some other models), but provides you with options and raises critical questions to help you decide which principle trumps others. Learning this model will also help you to formulate reasons for choosing how to intervene with other professionals or clients in an ethical and safe way. This reflective model will enable you to be the proactive practitioner you want to be!
Through case examples, you will be able to apply the skills right away! Case examples will focus on the issues of confidentiality, informed consent, boundaries and dual relationships and self-determination.


Product Details
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Linda Cherrey Reeser
6 Hours 02 Minutes
Audio and Video
30 Sep, 2016
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Media Type:
Digital Seminar - Also available: Digital Seminar
Never expires.


Continuing Professional Development Certificates - PESI Australia, in collaboration with PESI in the USA, offers quality online continuing professional development events from the leaders in the field at a standard recognized by professional associations including psychology, social work, occupational therapy, alcohol and drug professionals, counselling and psychotherapy. On completion of the training, a Professional Development Certificate is issued after the individual has answered and submitted a quiz and course evaluation. This online program is worth 6.0 hours CPD.



Linda Cherrey Reeser Related seminars and products: 1


Linda Cherrey Reeser, PhD, is a licensed social worker who has been teaching and consulting in Michigan for over 30 years. Dr. Reeser’s areas of professional expertise include ethics, professionalism, field education, activism and social change.

Dr. Reeser wrote a book on ethics with Dr. Wade Robison, Ethical Decision Making in Social Work (Allyn & Bacon). She is a long-standing member of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and has served on the Michigan Chapter Board as well as the Michigan NASW Ethics Committee.

Dr. Reeser is a full professor in the School of Social Work at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo Michigan, where she serves as the coordinator of the BSW program, and has been teaching undergraduate and graduate social work students for 34 years.

She received the Teaching Excellence Award from her college and the NASW Michigan Chapter Lifetime Achievement Award for her contributions to the social work profession. She has been sought out by lawyers for her expertise in ethics. Her practice experience is in criminal justice and substance abuse.

Speaker Disclosures:

Financial: Linda Cherrey Reeser is a professor at Western Michigan University, School of Social Work. She receives a speaking honorarium from PESI, Inc.

Nonfinancial: Linda Cherrey Reeser has no relevant nonfinancial relationship to disclose.

Additional Info

Program Information

Access for Self-Study (Non-Interactive)

Access never expires for this product.


  1. Utilize an ethical decision making framework to recognize, analyze, resolve and/or prevent ethical problems and dilemmas in your clinical practice.
  2. Communicate how an understanding of common boundary and dual relationship issues/dilemmas can help you maintain appropriate relationships with your clients.
  3. Determine conditions and limits of self-determination in order to avoid negatively impacting the therapeutic alliance.
  4. Identify ethical issues concerning confidentiality and informed consent, recognize their limits and employ safeguards in your clinical practice.
  5. Analyze the limits of confidentiality as it relates to duty to warn law in clinical practice.
  6. Recognize ethical challenges you should consider when responding to subpoenas that request disclosure of client records.


Common Ethical Issues

  • Professional obligations vs clients’ rights
  • Conflicting obligations and expectations
  • Professional truth telling to clients
  • Distribution of limited resources
  • Professional adherence to regulations and policies that may harm clients

Ethical Codes

  • Characteristics, functions, and limits
  • The intersection of the law and ethical codes: congruence and conflict

Defensive and Safe Practice

  • Practice according to the law
  • Steps to reduce legal vulnerability
  • Respond to subpoenas
  • Four elements of malpractice
  • Responding to impaired, incompetent, and/ or unethical behavior of professionals
  • Duty to warn law

Practice Ethical Self-Reflection

  • How demographic characteristics, values and beliefs influence ethical decision making
  • Prioritization of ethical principles
  • Ability to tolerate morally ambiguous situations

Apply a Model of Ethical Decision Making

  • Discern the facts
  • Assess ethical principles in conflict
  • What may or did go wrong and why
  • Short and long-term goals and their compatibility
  • Assess the harms of choosing different options
  • Develop strategies to prevent or rectify errors

Confidentiality and Informed Consent

  • Distinguish confidentiality, privacy and privilege
  • Confidentiality violations and consequences
  • Limits to confidentiality
  • Situations that require informed consent
  • Limits of informed consent
  • Case examples and small group discussion

Dual Relationship, Boundary Errors and Ethical Dilemmas

  • Signs of possible problems
  • Set clear, appropriate and culturally sensitive boundaries
  • Case examples and small group discussions
  • Prevention of harmful dual relationships or other boundary violations


  • Conditions for self-determination
  • Limits or interference
  • Case examples and small group discussion

Target Audience

Addiction Counselors, Case Managers, Counselors, Marriage & Family Therapists, Nurses, Psychologists, Social Workers and other Mental Health Professionals



Overall:      3.9

Total Reviews: 353


Terrance M - CARROLLTON, Texas

"Great Ethics presentation!"

Jane W - HUNTSVILLE, Alabama

"This is one of the best seminars I have attended in over 20 years."

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Your satisfaction is our goal and our guarantee. Concerns should be addressed to: PO Box 1000, Eau Claire, WI 54702-1000 or email

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