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Date(s) - 05/20/2017
9:00 am - 4:30 pm

Good Shepherd Center


These are contentious times. We all live with the potential for violence, whether it’s in the form of a verbal assault, or an unwanted physical touching, or a mass shooting. The political climate is acrimonious. Civil discourse is no longer civil.

Many of our clients are anxious, and feel that things are unstable.   People of color and immigrants are feeling particularly vulnerable.

To add to our consternation, the Washington Supreme Court significantly expanded the scope of our liability in their recent decision in Volk v. Demeerleer to include “foreseeable” third party victims of client violence, even if there was no explicit threat made.  While this decision may be reversed by legislation, the controversial ruling raises important questions about the nature and scope of our responsibility to prevent violence.

Here are some questions we need to more learn about, and talk about:

  • How can we be both therapists and citizens?
  • Do we try to be “unbiased” and neutral, or do we share our views with our clients?
  • How can we best address the anxiety our clients experience?
  • Can we predict who will commit an act of violence?
  • How can we best protect those vulnerable to possible violence, both from self-harm and harm from others?
  • Is there a distinction between an ethical responsibility and a duty under civil liability?
  • What do we need to do to protect ourselves AND do what’s right?

This seems like a good time for us as mental health practitioners —— of all varieties and political persuasions —- to come together and reflect on what it’s like to be a therapist in the current climate of divisiveness, potential violence, acrimony and fear.

On May 20, the Washington Mental Health Counselors Association, along with other professional organizations, will host a symposium on the role of the mental health practitioner in today’s world.  We will have a panel of experts in such fields as law, ethics, conflict and violence to help us better understand how we can be both citizens AND practitioners.

Please come join us.  Bring your concerns.  Bring your minds and hearts. We’ll have food.  And three hours of CE ethics credits.

Your convener and teacher will be Duncan Hollomon, JD, PhD.   Duncan is a psychotherapist, educator, “recovering” lawyer, and consultant.

To help us know what’s on your minds, send us your suggestions about what we need to talk about together, and what experts you’d like have with us.  Please address your questions and suggestions to Duncan [email protected]

We're sorry. Our online registration portal is closed at this time.