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by Bruce W. Ebert
by Bruce W. Ebert

Multiple Relationships and Conflict of Interest for Mental Health Professionals: A Conservative Psycholegal Approach

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• 2006  204pp paperback   ISBN: 9781568870984

The author examines a number of cases dealing with multiple relationships which were either charged by a licensing board or were part of a malpractice action or an ethics committee complaint.  In each chapter, he identifies a different issue and discusses the specific rules, generally accepted in the licensing of mental health professionals, pertaining to that issue.  His approach is conservative with the aim of exposing the practitioner to as little chance as possible of complaints.  Through wit and example, the author teaches the reader to recognize potential problem situations and make the proper decisions to minimize the potential of a destructive ethics complaint.  An excellent resource for anyone involved in practice now or planning to practice in the future.


"Providing the type of practical guidelines that clinicians need when faced with ethical dilemmas involving multiple relationships, Dr. Ebert offers a series of decision-making rules that address a variety of situations ranging from social contacts with clients to ethical no-brainers such as insider trading and real estate transactions.  The book is filled with case examples ranging from the mundane to the bizarre, including a section of the obvious hazards of 'hot-tubbing' with clients.  Several of the case examples are actual cases that have been taken from public records of licensing board complaints and malpractice lawsuits, illustrating how truth is indeed stranger than fiction.  The author's subtle use of humor underlying the ethical analysis of the real and hypothetical cases adds a balance to the seriousness of the subject matter that is guaranteed to keep an ethics seminar entertaining.  In the broad array of approaches to multiple relationships, ranging from the liberal to the conservative ends of the continuum, Dr. Ebert's psycholegal book should be placed clearly on the right side of the shelf."
     -William F. Doverspike, PhD, ABPP,
Ethics Committee, Georgia Psychological Association; Author of Ethical Risk Management

"Starting with the assertion that not all multiple relationships are harmful to the client, Dr. Ebert discusses a wide range of potential multiple relationships and provides useful tools to assist the practitioner in deciding which relationships to avoid.  He shows great respect for the practitioner's positive motivation and judgment, and his suggestions are flexible and realistic.  The actual case examples add to the book's appeal, usefulness, and relevance.  Dr. Ebert treats the subject matter seriously and with due respect, but he does so with a wit and warmth that make the book a pleasure to read.."

     -John L. Malouf
, PhD, Adjunct Professor of Psychology, University of Utah; Coauthor of
Keeping Up the Good Work: A Practitioner's Guide to Mental Health Ethics

Table of Contents
Multiple Relationships: Background

    Chapter 1:  Multiple Relationships and Their Consequences for Mental Health Professionals
    Chapter 2:  Analysis of Multiple Relationship Issues
    Chapter 3:  Determining Which Multiple Relationships Are a Problem
    Chapter 4:  Sex With Clients
    Chapter 5:  Sex With former Therapy Clients
    Chapter 6:  Sex and Other Multiple Relationships With Students and Supervisees
    Chapter 7:  Social Contact With Clients
    Chapter 8:  Insider Trading & Use of Information Gained When Providing Professional Services
    Chapter 9:  Employment of Clients
    Chapter 10:  Working Couples
    Chapter 11:  Treating Multiple Members of a Family and Other Related Issues
    Chapter 12:  Forensic Multiple Relationships
    Chapter 13:  Conclusion
    Professional Association Addresses
    Guidelines for Selecting an Attorney Consultant

    How to Select a Nonattorney Consultant

Subject Index

CE Program

A supplemental 6-credit, 60 question continuing education program is available for this book.  To order the complete program (this book and CE test module, or test module alone if you already have access to this book), go to: Multiple Relationships and Conflict of Interest for Mental Health Professionals - CE Program (6 Credits)

For information about our approved continuing education sponsorships
and acceptance by state, please click here:
Continuing Education

About the Author
Bruce W. Ebert, PhD, JD, LLM, is a clinical and forensic psychologist and an attorney in private practice near Sacramento, California.  He practices law with the firm of Hubbard & Ebert, LLP.  Dr. Ebert teaches ethics and law courses in forensic psychology at the California School of Professional Psychology and has taught at several universities and schools including the University of California - Davis School of Medicine, John F. Kennedy University Professional School of Psychology, and the University of San Francisco.  He received a doctorate from the California School of Professional Psychology in 1979.  He obtained his Juris Doctor degree from the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law and his LLM degree in health law from Saint Louis University.  Dr. Ebert is board certified in clinical and forensic psychology (ABPP) by the American Board of Professional Psychology.  He served as a member of the California Board of Psychology, the largest psychology licensing board in the world, serving five terms as its president.  He is a Fellow of the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) and a Silver Psy award winner from the California Psychological Association (CPA).  He represents mental health professionals in a variety of legal matters and practices appellate law in veteran's cases.  He served as an officer in the United States Air Force, leaving active duty in 1990.

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