Pre Conference Workshop

Legal and Professional Issues in the Assessment and Treatment of Childhood Abuse Survivors

Friday, March 23
8:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Location: Salon 1

This six hour program is concerned with the factors that make the treatment of child abuse survivors one of the higher risk domains within the mental health world. We review the types of cases seen by trauma clinicians, the types of clinician functions most associated with ethico-legal problems, and examples of jurisdictional laws that clinicians should know about. The program will emphasize the “standards of care” that bind clinicians both nationally and internationally, defining that concept with examples the role of that concept in ethics-legal expectations for clinicians. Next, we turn to a discussion of the primary existing resources for standards of care, such that clinicians learn where to look for ethico-legal support as they engage with childhood trauma survivors. The program then moves to categories of survivor and clinician factors that are associated with risks and risk management. This discussion will be based on the risk management chapter of the American Psychological Association’s Handbook of Trauma Therapy (2017), written by the presenter. This section of the program will provide examples of specific categories of both patient and professional risk factors and how these are best managed. Finally, we will discuss the critical role of consultation over the course of professional practice, and examples of different types and forms of such consultation, along with the ethics-legal requirements to inform patients of the consultation practices of their treating clinicians.

Learning Objectives:

A. Steven Frankel

Attorney, Clincial Psychologist
Private Practice
Occidental, California

Steve Frankel is Board Certified Clinical and Forensic Psychologist and an Attorney at Law, who practices both professions in San Francisco’s East Bay. A past Director of Clinical Training and current Clinical Prof. of Psychology at USC, he began recognizing childhood trauma in his adult patient case-load in 1980 and has specialized in working with that population ever since. He joined the Int’l. Society for the Study of Trauma & Dissociation in the 1990s and was the consultant to the Trauma Program at Del Amo Hospital from 1993 until 2001. He was President of the ISSTD in 2002 and has been active in developing and teaching courses in trauma treatment as well as publishing chapters in books and professional journals in the trauma field. As an attorney, he represents health care professionals involved in licensing board actions and consults with
mental health colleagues facing a variety of legal challenges. He developed Practice Legacy Program, LLC, for transitioning practices of colleagues upon retirement, death or disability, and has spearheaded an effort to protect health care professionals who suffer from degenerative neuro-cogntive disorders from ending their careers with licensing board actions.


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Legal and Professional Issues in the Assessment and Treatment of Childhood Abuse Survivors

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