- Center for Ethical Practice - https://centerforethicalpractice.org -

Beginnings & Endings: Ethical Issues and Potential Pitfalls

What are our ethical and legal responsibilities as we begin a clinical relationship?
What are our ethical and legal obligations when ending a relationship?
How can the beginning help to create a better ending?
How might a “professional will” protect clients in the event of unexpected endings?


INTRODUCTION: Placing Intakes & Terminations Into Ethical Context


A. Ethical Requirements About Beginning Relationships

B. Legal Requirements About Clinical Beginnings

C. Clinical Implications Of These Ethical & Legal Requirements

D. Creating Safe Beginnings

Providing Information & Obtaining Client Consent
Avoiding Pitfalls

E. Marking the Transition from Intake to Intervention:


A. Ethical Requirements About Ending Relationships

B. Legal Considerations When Ending Clinical Relationships

C. Clinical Issues With Ethical Implications

Planned “Timely” Endings
Therapist-Guided “Early” Endings
Patient-Initiated “Abrupt & Untimely” Endings
Financially-Driven Premature Terminations

D. Closing a Practice – Retirement, Relocation, Illness, Death

E. Planning Ahead: Preparing a  “Professional Will”

 III. IMPLEMENTATION: Using Beginnings to Create Safer Endings