• Social Work
  • Psychology
Hours: 3 Contact Hours
Author(s): Claudia J. Dewane, DEd, LCSW, BCD
Peer Reviewer(s): Laura Gibson, PhD, LCSW
Item#: B4218
Contents: 1 Course Book (52 pages)

Ethics in Psychotherapy Documentation: Reasons and Risks

Price $29.95
Item # B4218
When available, the Online Course format is included with the hard copy, eBook, or audio book formats!

Expiration Date: December 31, 2018

For social workers, counselors, and psychologists, documentation is equally important before, during, and after a clinical encounter. Although therapists often view documentation as an unwelcomed task and least favored activity, it serves multiple essential purposes. However, it is fraught with risk and liability. 

This intermediate-level course is intended for both beginning and seasoned practitioners.  After examining the clinical, administrative, and legal rationales for documentation, the course describes the content of good clinical documentation, discusses a chart’s organization, and  presents the different styles of progress notes. The course analyses the ethical issues commonly encountered by therapists when documenting, including information related to the storage, release and disposal of records; service reimbursement or extension; documentary evidence; group notes; client access to records; documenting in a digital world; publication; and, supervision. 

Case vignettes throughout the course highlight risk management techniques as they relate to documentation, particularly in the case of subpoenas or other litigious situations.   Therapists usually know what is minimally required in documentation; however, what is minimally required may differ significantly from what is recommended or optimal.  Optimal documentation includes information that is relevant to the clinical services being provided and that addresses legal, ethical, and administrative obligations. This course will help practitioners approach documentation in a way that is guided not solely by what is mandated, but by what is mutually beneficial to all stakeholders in the documentation process:  the practitioner, the agency, the funding source, and most of all, the clients.  This course illuminates the complex nuances of writing for the clinical record and provides information to assist the practitioner in determining when, what, and how much to document.  In addition, summaries related to documentation from the codes of ethics of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT), the American Counseling Association (ACA), the American Psychological Association (APA), and National Association of Social Workers (NASW) are included in the appendix – to aid therapists in gaining increased confidence and skill in writing sound clinical and ethical documentation.

  • Social Workers will receive 3 (Ethics) continuing education clock hours upon successfully completing this course. Accreditations
  • Psychologists will receive 3 CE credits upon successfully completing this course. APA Approval

Course Objectives

  • Explain the rationale for high-quality documentation.
  • Describe the content of good clinical documentation.
  • Identify aspects of clinical documentation that present potential ethical problems.
  • Describe decision making in ethical documentation.

Claudia J. Dewane, DEd, LCSW, BCD, is an associate professor in the College of Health Professions and Social Work at Temple University in Philadelphia. She received a doctorate in adult education and health psychology from Pennsylvania State University and an MSW from Columbia University. Dr. Dewane is a licensed clinical social worker, maintains board-certified diplomate status in clinical social work, and has a certificate in advanced clinical supervision. She is the founder of Clinical Support Associates, a private firm providing supervision, consultation, and training to professional social ­workers. She has presented numerous workshops on clinical, supervisory, and ethical issues in social work. Dr. Dewane has also taught and published on ethics and supervision.

Laura Gibson, PhD, LCSW, is an assistant professor of social work at Brescia University in Owensboro, Kentucky. She earned her PhD in social work from the University of Louisville. She has taught at the baccalaureate level, including courses on ethical considerations in social work practice. Dr. Gibson has written numerous book reviews related to social work values and ethics. She is a manuscript reviewer and book review editor for the Journal of Social Work Values and Ethics. She also writes test items for the Association of Social Work Boards licensing examination. 

  • Courses must be completed on or before the expiration date noted in the course description above.
  • You must score 75% or higher on the final exam and complete the course evaluation to pass this course and receive a certificate of completion.
  • Through our review processes, Western Schools ensures that this course content is presented in a balanced, unbiased manner and is free from commercial influence. It is Western Schools’ policy not to accept commercial support.
  • All persons involved in the planning and development of this course have disclosed no relevant financial relationships or other conflicts of interest related to the course content.