Exceptions to Confidentiality

Presented and developed by Frances Schopick, JD, MSW, LICSW

Every counselor knows that confidentiality is the foundation of clinical practice. However, there are also exceptions to confidentiality that can be exercised. A recent ruling in the WA Supreme Court has shifted exemptions from a Duty to Warn third parties to a Duty to Protect the public.  Counselors may need to disclose information if signs of dangerousness are present.

In this interactive presentation, we will examine cases that help us understand how court rulings affecting confidentiality apply to practice and what counselors can do to protect themselves as well as their clients.


Goals and Objectives:

  • Duty to Protect: To provide an overview of the differences between Duty to Warn and the newer standard, the Duty to Protect. Attendees should come away with an understanding of the “special relationship” standard that may create in them the responsibility to assess their clients for dangerousness to self and/or others.
  • Disclosure of couples counseling: To provide an overview of laws relevant to confidentiality in couples counseling. Attendees should have an understanding of exceptions to confidentiality as they may exist in the context of couples counseling, and how to follow proper procedures so that disclosure is performed in a lawful fashion.
  • Exceptions in counseling involving children: To provide an overview of laws involving confidentiality of parents and/or children when the best interests of a child may be involved. Attendees should be able to identify when and how disclosure may be made, with great care, to parenting evaluators, guardians ad litem, and clients’ lawyers.

Continuing Education (CE) Information

6 CEs

 6 Law and Ethics CEs

Frances Schopick, JD, MSW, LICSW

Frances Shopick, has worked for nearly 20 years as a mental health diagnostician and clinician in agency, research and private practice.  She is on the faculty of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (fka the Mount Sinai School of Medicine) in New York City in the Departments of Psychiatry and Preventive Medicine, and was formerly on the faulty of Harvard Medical School in the Department of Psychiatry.  Research publications, abstracts, and presentation reflect her work in Mood and Personality Disorders.  More recently, she has investigated high conflict custody issues as an evaluator for Family Law Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), and is trained as a Guardian ad Litem (GAL).  As an attorney, her focus is on Family Law dissolutions (divorces) and helping counselors with ethical challenges that put them at risk for DOH complaints.  Ms. Schopick has presented to the Washington State NASW on Ethical Issues in Social Work Practice, Washington State Superior Court Judges' and Administrators' (SCJA) 2013 Spring Conference and the Washington State Bar Association Disciplinary Counsel on mental health issues.  Ms. Schopick completed her BA at Barnard College at Columbia University in New York City, a Master's Degree in Social Work (MSW) at the Hunter College School of Social Work, and Juris Doctor (JD) at the University of New Hampshire.  She holds Washington licensure as both an attorney and LICSW.

Upcoming Dates and Registration

No dates have been scheduled for this course. Please check back soon.

If you would like to be notified of an upcoming date for this course, please sign up on our mailing list.
Back to Top