Not Your Everyday Ethics Talk: What to do when your client’s attorney calls (and you didn’t even know they had an attorney)


Note: This is a live virtual workshop that has two registration options: the main workshop ONLY on September 23, 2022, or the main workshop on September 23, 2022 AND a case study discussion on September 28, 2022. For whichever option you select, full attendance will be monitored and is required for CE credit. Specific Zoom log-in details will be emailed to registrants the week before the main workshop. For general Zoom help, please visit our Online Workshop Information Page.

Program Description:

MAIN WORKSHOP (4 CEs): It is all too common for clinical practice to intersect with legal issues. Most clinicians have difficulty navigating these challenging and anxiety-provoking situations. This workshop will focus on one of the most common areas of practice where legal issues arise – high conflict divorce – and how to manage those cases and one’s own anxiety while maintaining clinical boundaries and ethical competence.

For adult clients, high conflict divorce may change what they (or their counsel) are seeking from therapy. For these cases, dilemmas related to confidentiality, responding to subpoenas, dual roles, and records release will be illustrated using case examples and vignettes. Participants will discuss how to avoid getting pulled in to the legal context and becoming too aligned with the client in a manner that is clinically counterproductive.

For child and adolescent clients (and yes, they might also have their own attorneys) participants will learn strategies to maintain a systemic perspective, avoid entanglements with the legal system, and stay focused on clinical issues. One of the most challenging related scenarios is working with child clients who are resisting contact with a parent. Participants will learn the research based rationale for describing these cases with “resist-refuse” language rather than “alienation.” Throughout this talk, the limitations of our clinical roles will be explored and the importance of a systemic perspective within high conflict cases will be emphasized.

ADD-ON OPTION (+2 CEs): Following the 4-hour workshop presented by Dr. Hill, join her for a 2-hour case discussion where YOU bring the vignettes. The past three years have been challenging, and this is time for you to lean into colleagues for a lively discussion of difficult cases. While leading the discussion, Dr. Hill will highlight resources available to clinicians and ways to maintain levels of ethics, professionalism and competence. Additionally, cases will be explored – where appropriate – within a multicultural decision-making framework. Finally, relevant provisions of the APA Ethics Code will be addressed throughout the presentation. If there is time, self-care during these challenging times will be addressed and the importance of professional and personal relationships. Note: Due to its experiential focus, the “Lunch and Learn” optional component of the workshop will NOT be recorded and will not be available for later home study registration.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe biases that impact clinical assessment and intervention within a legal context and identify strategies to minimize these biases.
  • Demonstrate how to respond to legal requests for records and assess how various responses intersect with ethics codes.
  • Identify at least one potential legal entanglement with child clients whose parents are divorcing and a strategy to focus on the relevant clinical issue.
  • Explain the rationale for using “resist-refuse” terminology, and the related ethical issues that arise in these difficult and challenging cases.
  • (Add-On Session) Identify and discuss relevant clinical, ethical, legal, and risk management issues around the cases presented.
  • (Add-On Session) Participants will identify signs of distress and impairment, and identify a form of self-care.

Continuing Education Credit – 4 or 6 Ethics Hours

  • APA – Avant Training is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Avant Training maintains responsibility for this program and its content. This workshop qualifies for Ethics CE hours for psychologists.
  • LCSW –  This workshop is approved for Ethics CE hours through the Georgia Society for Clinical Social Work. Approval #061622.
  • LPC – Avant Training has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 7225. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. Avant Training is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.
  • LMFT – Related Hours

Cancellation Policy

Refunds will be honored for attendee cancellations received at least five (5) days prior to September 23, 2022. We are unable to offer refunds for cancellations beyond that point. Please note that payments made on our website incur a non-recoupable processing fee with our payment portal, so all standard refunds will have a three percent fee deducted from the full amount. For more information or if you have any questions before you register, check out our FAQ page or send us an email at

Recording Policy

The main workshop will be recorded for viewing by registered homestudy participants. The case study lunch-and-learn will NOT be recorded, due to the nature of its content. Attendees at the main workshop who participate with their camera engaged or utilize a profile image are consenting to have their video or image recorded. If you are unwilling to consent to have your profile or video image recorded, be sure to keep your camera off and do not use a profile image. Likewise, attendees who un-mute during the main workshop and participate orally are consenting to have their voices recorded. If you are not willing to consent to have your voice recorded during the workshop, you will need to keep your mute button activated and communicate exclusively using the “chat” feature on Zoom.