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Michigan Legal and Ethical Issues for Mental Health Clinicians - Susan Lewis

Michigan Legal and Ethical Issues for Mental Health Clinicians – Susan Lewis

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  • Total time: 6 Hours
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Michigan Legal and Ethical Issues for Mental Health Clinicians

In this recording, Susan Lewis, psychologist and attorney, will prepare you for litigation issues which can put your client, your license and your practice at risk. You will learn how to structure your practice to limit exposure of risk, as well as discover simple records, notes and actions that will protect you in the event of a complaint. Susan will provide you with the following take-home tools to minimize risk:

  • Updates on HIPAA and Michigan laws and regulations
  • Risk management strategies
  • How to avoid litigation dilemmas, complaints and malpractice actions
  • Best practices in the professional relationship, informed consent and office policies

You will learn through problem-solving discussions that are representative of actual ethical decisions you encounter in your clinical practice. The blending of Susan’s experience as a lawyer, work within the court system and extensive clinical experience makes her a hands-on, knowledgeable instructor!

This recording will leave you fearless and competent when and if you are faced with litigation.


  1. Communicate how to avoid litigation dilemmas, licensing complaints and malpractice actions.
  2. Explore the legal and ethical considerations for the treatment of minor populations in Michigan with regard to age of consent, confidentiality and custody concerns.
  3. Communicate how an understanding of common boundary and dual relationship issues/dilemmas can help you maintain appropriate relationships with your clients.
  4. Recognize ethical challenges you should consider when responding to subpoenas that request disclosure of client records.
  5. Analyze the limits of confidentiality as it relates to duty to warn law in Michigan.
  6. Articulate how risk management strategies regarding technology can keep client information secure and avoid violating HIPAA.

Clinician-Client Relationship

  • Law vs. ethics
  • Elements of legal informed consent
  • Nuts and bolts of office policies
    • Records vs. psychotherapy notes
    • What to put in a record
  • Limitations on confidentiality
    • Michigan case law & danger to others
    • Michigan duty to warn potential victims
    • HIPAA
    • The latest updates you need to know

Practical Approach to Risk Management

  • Elements of consent
  • Competence & scope of practice
  • Boundary violations/crossings
  • Issues with modern technology
    • Texting, cell phones, e-mail, video psychotherapy
  • Perils of supervision

Litigation

  • Licensing complaints & malpractice lawsuits
    • Michigan-specific statutes
    • Case law and how to find it

Navigate the Legal System

  • Roles of attorneys
    • Confidentiality/privilege
    • Subpoena & disclosure of confidential information
    • Depositions, interrogatories, expert testimony

Treatment of Minors

  • Michigan age of majority
  • Consent to treatment
  • Privilege/confidentiality
  • Separation & divorce

Case Studies


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