Portable Ethicist / Edition 1

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Everything you need to know to protect your practice against ethical violations and complaintsThe Portable Ethicist for Mental Health Professionals is a valuable, easy-to-use resource for all mental health service providers. Written by two attorneys specializing in legal and ethical issues in mental health, this indispensable guide arms you with the expert knowledge you need to avoid an ethical violation–or to handle the situation if a complaint is filed. Barton Bernstein and Thomas Hartsell Jr. tackle dozens of ethical questions using the codes of several mental health professional associations and provide practical guidelines for avoiding ethically questionable behavior.Organized alphabetically for easy reference, this complete A-to-Z guide:
  • Provides clear, concise answers to ethical questions–from the simple to the complex
  • Covers key categories, including confidentiality, dual relationships, sexual misconduct, false and misleading statements, malpractice, drug and alcohol use, documentation, record keeping, closing a practice (retirement or death), responding to a subpoena, and more
  • Features step-by-step guidance, helpful case studies, and "ethical flash points" that alert you to warning signs and help you steer clear of ethically questionable situations
  • Covers the role of state licensing boards and national mental health associations in responding to complaints of ethical violations

Even an unintentional ethical violation can lead to personal and professional disaster. The Portable Ethicist for Mental Health Professionals helps you protect yourself, your future, and your practice–and lets you focus on the best interests of your clients.

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Editorial Reviews

A resource for mental health service providers who want to be armed with the knowledge needed to avoid an ethical violation or handle the situation if a complaint is filed. Dozens of ethical questions are dealt with using the codes of several mental health professional associations, and practical guidelines are provided for avoiding ethically questionable behavior. Coverage includes categories such as confidentiality, drug and alcohol use, sexual misconduct, malpractice, and the role of state licensing boards and national associations in responding to complaints of ethical violations. The authors are both attorneys in private practice. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471382652
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/1/2000
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 312
  • Product dimensions: 9.25 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Meet the Author

BARTON E. BERNSTEIN, JD, LMSW, is an attorney in private practice in Dallas, Texas, and a Licensed Master Social Worker. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center, Department of Psychiatry, and the University of Texas, Arlington, Graduate School of Social Work. He conducts workshops and seminars throughout the United States.

THOMAS L. HARTSELL Jr., JD, maintains a private law practice in Dallas, Texas. He is a requent workshop presenter on topics related to ethics, managed care, confidentiality, informed consent, abuse allegations, and other legal aspects of mental health practice, and is an adjunct professor at Southern Methodist University, University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center, and Northlake College.

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Table of Contents


Alternative Treatment Methods.

Boundary Violations.



False and Misleading Statements.

Informed Consent.


Prohibited Clients.

Repressed and Recovered Memory.

Sexual Misconduct.

Terminating Therapy.


Areas of Ethical Complaints.

Ethics Codes as Evidence.

Licensing Board Procedures.

Reporting Statutes.



Closing a Practice.

Kickbacks, Bartering, and Fees.

Malpractice Insurance.

Record Keeping and Maintenance.


Drug and Alcohol Use.

Duty to Warn.

Interprofessional Issues.

Professional Vulnerability.



Forensic Evaluation.

Group Therapy.

Epilogue: Ethics in the 21st Century.


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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2000

    This book is vital for anyone who counsels others and expects to stay out of the courthouse!

    The Portable Ethicist for Mental Health Professionals should be in every psychologist, counselor, and therapist¿s library. It¿s strengths are many but I particularly like it¿s Flash Points sections which offer a discussion point for helping understand when a person can be liable for certain actions. It then relates these to the Professional Code of Conduct for different disciplines. It¿s concrete and practical. The book is easily readable, but well researched. Anyone who has heard either Bart Bernstein or Thomas Hartsell, Jr. Speak, knows these guys have ¿been there and know this stuff.¿ It¿s one of my favorite books for anyone who counsels or helps others. If read and followed, it should keep us out of the courthouse and in the counseling field helping those in need. Joel Blaylock, Allen, TX

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