Ethics and Private Practice Building for the New Mental Health Professional: A Two-Day Workshop

Presented and developed by Cynthia Hedlund, MA, LMHC and Eric Strom, Attorney at Law, LMHC

Creating and maintaining a successful private practice is a bold and labor intensive endeavor.  When thriving, you provide a vital community service as well as make a satisfying livelihood.  You can experience professional autonomy and enjoy the thrill of developing financial independence in a turbulent economy while fulfilling your passion for helping people.

The journey is not without peril however.  As a new counseling graduate, or as a clinician who's new to the private practice setting, it's not unusual to feel insecure about having enough experience and knowledge to start and sustain a private practice.  In addition, seasoned clinicians in private practice can find themselves feeling stalled, isolated, overwhelmed and unable to sustain their financial or emotional wellbeing.  Therapists face the complexity of wearing many hats including that of compassionate healer and educated clinician, ethics expert, savvy business person, office and billing manager, medical records keeper and contracted insurance provider.  Actual or perceived ineffectiveness in these roles compromises therapy and reduces client retention and word of mouth referral.

This two-day workshop will provide a comprehensive understanding of the complex issues of these multiple roles.  It will also provide a tangible framework for building the skills and competencies necessary to start and maintain a professional, ethical and thriving mental health private practice.

Upon completion of the workshop, participants will have created a full set of documents and tools tailored to their own individual practice, including a comprehensive Business Plan with identified areas of professional growth, a personalized Informed Consent and Disclosure form, and a Social Media use Policy for client and therapist protection.

Day one with Cynthia Hedlund, MA, LMHC

With a comprehensive overview of the multiple competencies required for successful private practice, you will be guided to work both individually and interactively with the class to target your specific areas of professional growth, and to develop a business plan tailored to your identified needs.  Topics include:

  • Professional identity and multiple roles
  • Licenses, forms, record keeping, office management, billing and insurance
  • Network of support for therapists
  • Marketing, referrals, specialization, niche
  • Business planning and a vision of your success
  • Keeping the therapeutic/ethical frame with complicated cases

Day two with Eric Strom, JD, MA, LMHC

The second day will be focused on understanding and creating Informed Consent and Disclosure forms and Social Media Use Policy documents.  During this workshop, we will walk through the specific legal, ethical and practical requirements of these two documents that are critical to a sound private practice.  

Topics covered will include:

  • Federal and state required disclosures
  • Insurance disclosures
  • Working with children, families, couples and groups
  • Financial disclosures
  • Social media counseling
  • Use of technology in counseling

Using an interactive, web-enabled tool, participants will create their own customized Informed Consent and Disclosure forms and Social Media Policy documents to fit their unique practice setting and approach. Participants are strongly encouraged to bring a laptop, tablet, or other computing device to access this web-enabled tool.

Continuing Education (CE) Information

10 CEs

4 Law & Ethics CEs day 1

6 Law and Ethics CEs day 2

Cynthia Hedlund, MA, LMHC

Cynthia is a graduate of Seattle University and a licensed mental health counselor.  She has maintained a thriving private practice for over 20 years.  She began her career in community mental health at Seattle Mental Health Institute and later at Far West Family Services.  She advanced in her field to lead case consultation groups designed to focus on client welfare, ethics and therapist professional development.  Cynthia is an approved Washington State supervisor who has worked with associates seeking licensure.

As a founder of Wallingford Counseling and Consultation in Seattle, Cynthia specializes in treating anxiety and depressive disorders in adults and older teens.  Her approach is psychodynamic, developmental, humanistic and spiritually oriented.  She also provides relationship counseling with intensive training in Emotionally Focused Therapy for couples.  Along with her dedication to her clients, Cynthia enjoys contributing to the lively exchange of ideas within the therapist community for the purpose of advancing collective professional excellence.

You can visit her website at:


Eric Strom, Attorney at Law, LMHC

Eric Strom is an attorney and Licensed Mental Health Counselor.  As an attorney, Eric provides legal counsel, consultation and guidance to mental health professionals.  The focus of Eric's clinical practice is providing mental health counseling services to combat veterans.  Eric is currently serving as the ethics advisor for the Washington Mental Health Counselors Association.

Eric has provided legal counsel to the US Naval medical facilities throughout the Western United States and the Pacific as a Lieutenant Commander in the United States Navy JAG Corps Reserve.  Eric has taught a range of courses in professional ethics at a wide variety of graduate and undergraduate programs, including Argosy University, Seattle University, and Edmonds Community College.

Eric graduated cum laude from Wayne State University School of Law in Detroit MI, attended the Hague Academy of International law in Hague, Netherlands, received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Linguistics from the University of Michigan, earned a Master of Arts Degree in Counseling Psychology from the Northwest School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University, Seattle, and is currently working towards his PhD in Counseling at Oregon State University.

Upcoming Dates and Registration

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

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