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Continuing Studies

Legal Issues in Ethics and Boundaries: Confidentiality, Tarasoff Standards, and Conscience Clauses

continuingstudies.wisc.edu/8702-C-PDAS See upcoming dates


This virtual learning class is being offered remotely at the listed date and time. Details, including instructions for accessing an online learning platform via the internet or dial-in option, will be provided to registrants. Participants earn 2 hours of ethics/boundaries continuing education. Take additional units to meet your requirements for 4 or 6 ethics/boundaries CE hours.

All mental health professional organizations have standards defining ethical practice. These include guidelines about boundaries, principled decision-making, and professional behavior. At times, government also weighs in, setting certain legal requirements that mental health professionals must adhere to. Sometimes these standards are consistent with professional standards (confidentiality). Sometimes they add new expectations (Tarasoff duties). And sometimes they conflict (conscience clauses). This workshop is about the relationship between legislative and professional ethical and practice standards. We will investigate the following legal principles in this context: confidentiality, Tarasoff standards, conscience clauses, and boundary issues.


Learning objectives

At the end of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Identify the basic components of confidentiality and Tarasoff Standards.
  • Describe the difference between a privacy standard and a confidentiality standard.
  • Describe how conscience clauses may conflict with professional codes of ethics.
  • Assess themselves for risks of boundary crossings and ask for consultation if necessary.


Course Outline

Course outline

  • Confidentiality
  • Privacy versus confidentiality
  • Tarasoff
  • Threats and "true threat" doctrine
  • Conscience clauses
  • Boundaries - historical antecedents in mental health

Earn Continuing Education Hours

By participating in this class you will earn:

Instructional Hours 2
University of Wisconsin Continuing Education Units .2
American Psychological Association - Continuing Education Credit 2
Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services - Substance Abuse Counselors - Continuing Education Credit Hours 2
Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services - Marriage and Family Therapists - Continuing Education Credit Hours 2
Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services - Social Workers - Continuing Education Credit Hours 2

Explanation of Continuing Education Hours

Upcoming dates (0)

Not scheduled at this time. Join the mailing list.

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Program Questions?

Contact Meghan Wilhelmi at meghan.wilhelmi@wisc.edu or 608-263-2829

Registration Questions?

Email registrations@pyle.wisc.edu or call 608-262-2451.

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