Law, Ethics and Standards of Care in Behavioral Health


Behavioral health professionals must understand and manage the potential legal and ethical risks that arise in the course of their practice to protect their clients, their organizations, and themselves. This course provides an overview of several important legal and ethical issues that psychologists, social workers, counselors, and other behavioral health professionals may face. It is designed to heighten clinicians’ general awareness of legal and ethical concerns. It is not offered as legal advice for any individual provider or specific situation. This training will help you distinguish between legal, ethical, and standard of care issues. It is designed to serve as a guide to help you understand the law and make ethical decisions in your work, as well as develop risk-management and compliance strategies to help you avoid disciplinary actions and claims of malpractice. You will also learn about informed consent, confidentiality, and privacy concerns. A variety of case vignettes and interactive exercises will give you opportunities to apply and deepen your knowledge of these critical topics. Taking this course can help you prepare for and recognize legal and ethical concerns. However, you will also need to familiarize yourself with the specific laws, ethical codes, organizational policies, and standards of care that apply to your practice. Professional organizations, state licensing boards, and attorneys familiar with behavioral health law can help you access information relevant to your work.


Hours: 2.00


Certificates provided by accrediting body (2 Match)

California Nursing Home Administrator Program - P type


This educational offering is approved by the California Nursing Home Administrator Program (NHAP) as a Patient Care/Aging ("P" credit) course. Provider # CEP 1701; Course Approval # 1701002-6290/P. This activity is approved for 2.00 contact hours.

National Academy of Certified Care Managers


Relias,LLC is approved by the National Academy of Certified Care Managers (NACCM) as a continuing education provider, #18-502RA.

This activity approved for 2.00 CMC contact hours

Course Details

Hours: 2
Type: Online Course
Content Expiration Date: 9/30/2019
Learning Objectives:
Distinguish between professional ethics, standards of care, and the law.
Explain how violations of laws, ethical codes, and standards of care can lead to disciplinary actions, malpractice claims, and even criminal charges.
Identify at least three steps that can be taken to effectively manage risks related to client confidentiality and privacy.

Section 1: Introduction Course Contributors About This Course Learning Objectives Section 2: Background: Ethics, Laws, and Standards of Care Ethics, Laws, and Standards of Care How Do These Laws Apply to You? Quick Review Section Summary Section 3: Standards of Care Legal Standards: Standard of Care Bugs, Yes, But Blood? Legal Standards: Scope of Practice and Competence Informed Consent More about Consent Minors and Consent Let’s Practice! Mental Capacity, Legal Competency, and Informed Consent Mental Capacity and Informed Consent Assessing Mental Capacity Legal Competency and Informed Consent Understanding Boundaries: Sexual Misconduct More about Boundaries Maintaining Appropriate Boundaries: Physical Touch Maintaining Appropriate Boundaries: Dual Relationships Other Boundary Crossings Let’s Review Technology & Practice: Standards of Care Technology & Practice: Standards of Care: Some Specifics Technology & Practice: Standards of Care: Risky Situations Section Summary Section 4: Violations of Standards of Care Violation of Standards of Care: Disciplinary Actions Violations of Standards of Care: Malpractice The Four D’s of Malpractice Duty Dereliction Damage Directly Let’s Review the Four D’s Common Bases for Disciplinary and Malpractice Actions Diana’s Duty Common Misunderstandings about Violations of Standards of Care Let’s Practice: Jamal! Client Privacy and Confidentiality Protecting Client Privacy: HIPAA Enforcement of HIPAA Substance Abuse Treatment Records and 42 CFR Part 2 42 CFR Part 2: Additional Provisions Part 2: Consent Forms HIPAA and Part 2 Client Privacy Duty to Warn/Protect Involuntary Commitment & Treatment Mandated Reporting Laws: Child Abuse & Neglect Mandated Reporting Laws: Don’t Ignore Them! Mandated Reporting Laws: Vulnerable Adults Section Summary Section 5: Compliance & Risk Management The Case of Beto and Sabrina What Should Sabrina Have Done? Compliance and Risk Management Compliance and Risk Management: Clinical Practices Compliance and Risk Management: Laws, Ethics, and Standards Relationships and Boundaries How Can You Stay Informed about Legal and Ethical Concerns? Section Summary Section 6: Conclusion Course Summary References

Staff Writer: Amira Samuel
Amira Samuel is a family law attorney in New York City who specializes in representing survivors of intimate partner violece. Ms. Samuel advocates for survivors of violence in Supreme Court, Family Court and Criminal Court and advises clients on their rights in custody, visitation, family offense and child support proceedings. Ms. Samuel is a graduate of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and a former Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow. Disclosure: Amira Samuel has declared that no conflict of interest, Relevant Financial Relationship or Relevant Non-Financial Relationship exists.
Expert Reviewer: Lisa Clark, J.D.
Lisa W. Clark, J.D. is a 1989 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School and has received her Master’s and undergraduate degrees from Harvard Divinity School and Yale University, respectively. Ms. Clark practices in the area of health care law with an emphasis on hospital representation, Medicaid, managed care contracting, and general regulatory compliance including licensure, accreditation, and certification. She has additional experience with quality of care and pay for performance, HIPAA, EMTALA, and general regulatory compliance. Ms. Clark is a frequent speaker on health care regulatory matters. Disclosure: Lisa Clark, J.D. has declared that no conflict of interest, Relevant Financial Relationship or Relevant Non-Financial Relationship exists.
Expert Reviewer: Wendy C. Krull, LCSW
Ms. Krull has over 16 years of social work practice experience. She received her Master’s degree in Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University (2001) and received clinical training at Henrico Mental Health and Developmental Services and Resource Guidance Services in Richmond, Virginia. Ms. Krull was the Client Services Director at a domestic violence agency, providing clinical services and supervising all direct care staff. She later managed part of the Pregnancy and Adoption Services department within Catholic Charities, San Diego. Ms. Krull also has experience in clinical documentation review and audits. She currently is a technical writer/ editor at Relias Learning. Disclosure: Wendy C. Krull, LCSW has declared that no conflict of interest, Relevant Financial Relationship or Relevant Non-Financial Relationship exists.
Target Audience:
The target audience for this course is: entry and intermediate level Case Managers; entry and intermediate level Marriage and Family Therapists; entry and intermediate level Professional Counselors; entry and intermediate level Psychologists; entry and intermediate level Social Workers; in the following settings: Health and Human Services.
Relias will be transparent in disclosing if any commercial support, sponsorship or co-providership is present prior to the learner completing the course.
Course Delivery Method and Format
Asynchronous/Online Distance Learning; please see certificate details for specifics on delivery format.
Relias has a grievance policy in place to facilitate reports of dissatisfaction. Relias will make every effort to resolve each grievance in a mutually satisfactory manner. In order to report a complaint or grievance please contact Relias.
If you require special accommodations to complete this module, please contact Relias Support by completing the web form ( or by using the chat functionality.
All courses offered by Relias, LLC are developed from a foundation of diversity, inclusiveness, and a multicultural perspective. Knowledge, values and awareness related to cultural competency are infused throughout the course content.
Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, service mark, manufacturer or otherwise does not constitute or imply any endorsement, recommendation, or favoring of, or affiliation with, Relias, LLC.
All characteristics and organizations referenced in the following training are fictional. Any resemblance to any actual organizations or persons living or dead, is purely coincidental.
To earn continuing education credit for this course you must achieve a passing score of 80% on the post-test and complete the course evaluation.
If you require special accommodations to complete this module, please contact Relias Customer Support here.