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June 24, 2014

HealthForumOnline Adds a New Online Continuing Education (CE) Course: Ethical Considerations for Mental Health Professionals Working with Children and Families

HealthForumOnline (HFO) adds a new online continuing education (CE) course, Ethical Considerations from Mental Health Professionals Working with Children and Families, to their extensive library of over 90 online CE courses in behavioral health. The online CE course examines ethical issues as they relate to the unique relationship that forms between the clinician and members of the family in an effort to increase awareness of how relevant ethical codes may affect their clinical work.

Philadelphia, PA (PRWEB) June 24, 2014  – HealthForumOnline (HFO), a nationally-approved (APA, ASWB, NBCC, CA-BBS) provider of online continuing education (CE) for mental health professionals is pleased to announce a new CE course entitled, Ethical Considerations for Mental Health Professionals Working with Children and Families, to its extensive library of online CE courses for psychologists, social workers, counselors, and other allied healthcare professionals.

The need for an ethical approach to working with children and families in a therapeutic context is crucial. Although there are a variety of resources to guide the actions and decisions made by mental health professionals, many situations encountered within the mental health system exist between the lines of ethical codes. 

Although many professional and government organizations have addressed the unavoidable occurrence of ethical dilemmas when working with clients by developing codes of ethics, the potential still exists for professionals to encounter situations with no easy solution. Ethical codes are simply frameworks for addressing difficult topics and situations with clients. Professionals may still feel without clear direction after consulting one of the codes of conduct, especially when working within the family system (1, 2). The need for considering potential ethical concerns prior to their occurrence is critical for the professional to best help the family through these difficult situations.

Working with minors presents a variety of concerns related to confidentiality and privacy because many actions require parental consent or family sessions where private information is shared across family members. A variety of concerns related to multiple relationships may erupt, due not only to the family system creating multiple relationships, but also because the therapist frequently needs to interact with other systems involved with the family, such as the school, Children and Youth Services, or other local agencies.

This course is designed to help mental health professionals working with children and families to better handle ethical dilemmas when they occur by increasing awareness of potentially confusing scenarios, and enabling professionals to begin developing a plan for preventing and addressing ethical concerns with clients from the start of the therapy process. Ethical concerns that commonly occur while working with children and families along with brief suggestions and recommendations for prevention are discussed along with appropriate actions resolution. Throughout the course, a variety of scenarios are considered to demonstrate the relevant areas of ethical codes, as well as to highlight areas in need of clarification. A review of the relevant ethical codes put forth by the major national sanctioning organizations for mental health practitioners (i.e., American Psychological Association, Association for Social Work Boards, National Association of Social Workers, American Counseling Association, National Board of Certified Counselors, American Association of Marriage and Family Therapist) is additionally provided as a professional compass in this domain.

By the end of the course participants should be able to identify ethical dilemmas related to child and family therapy, and identify potential paths to take to reduce the impact of ethical concerns. Lastly, current ethical models for family therapy are provided for clinical integration. Major topics include 1) informed consent and client rights, 2) multiple relationships and managing boundaries while working as part of a treatment team, 3) confidentiality, 4) diversity issues, 5) child protection issues, and 6) suggestions for best practice and web-based resources.

Psychologists, social workers, counselors, and other allied health professionals can chose from HFO’s 19 categories of continuing education (CE) topics related to health psychology and behavioral medicine containing over 90 online CE courses that are fast, convenient and cost-effective.

  1. Badzek et al., (2013).  Ethical, legal, and social issues in the translation of genomics into health care.  Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 45(1), 15-24.
  2. Pavlish et al., (2011). Early indicators and risk factors for ethical issues in clinical practice.