Law and Ethics

Help! Why is Elder Age Listed as 65+ in TDC Test Prep? Isn’t it 60 Years and Above?

Submitted by Maria Denardo on Wed, 03/27/2024 - 10:40am
Elder age continues to elicit questions among testers preparing for the LCSW and MFT CA Law and Ethics Exams. The source of the confusion began with AB 135, a California law that went into effect in January 2022. This law amended Chapter 13 of the Welfare and Institutions Code to state that an elder adult is defined as anyone 60 years of age and older. This allows APS staff to accept reports and conduct investigations of elder abuse and neglect for people 60 years and older. The intent of the law was to align with the age eligibility for the Older Americans Act programs, which serve
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Help! Can You Explain Psychotherapy Records vs. Psychotherapy Notes?

Submitted by Maria Denardo on Fri, 02/02/2024 - 07:59am
For our third installment of our new blog series, we’re addressing a question we frequently receive from associates studying for the CA MFT or LCSW law and ethics exam: What is the difference between psychotherapy records and psychotherapy notes? Let’s break it down. Psychotherapy records are mental health records that therapists must maintain for every client. This medical record typically consists of intake forms, assessments, symptomatology, diagnoses, modalities, frequency of treatment, treatment plan, mental status exams, weekly progress reports, and other factual information about the
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2024 Changes for the LMFT & LCSW Law and Ethics Exam

Submitted by Maria Denardo on Mon, 12/18/2023 - 03:49am
Exam changes are underway. Every five years the BBS conducts an occupational analysis for each profession to ensure that exam content is up-to-date and accurately reflects clinical competency. As a result, the California LMFT and LCSW law and ethics exams will be updated beginning January 1, 2024. Our team compared current and former exam outlines, and upon completing our review, we believe these updates will not have a significant impact on your exam questions. What are the 2024 law and ethics exam changes? The most notable exam changes centered around content breakdown and elder and
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Help! When Does a Therapist Consult versus Refer Out?

Submitted by Maria Denardo on Thu, 11/16/2023 - 09:08am
We’re back with part two of our new blog series in which you ask and we answer your most popular questions related to the CA law and ethics exam. On today’s docket, we’re going to take a closer look at when therapists are expected to consult versus refer out, according to the BBS. Here’s a simple breakdown: Generally, when a values conflict is at play and it’s affecting the therapist, then the therapist would consult. If the issue persists after consultation and begins to interfere with therapy, then the therapist could refer out as a later step. Examples of a value conflict may be opposing
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Help! What’s the Difference Between Privilege vs Confidentiality in Therapy?

Submitted by Maria Denardo on Thu, 10/12/2023 - 09:23am
You asked, we answered! This month, we’re launching a new series addressing commonly asked questions we receive from associates who are studying for the California law and ethics exam. One of the most requested topics centers around client information – namely, the confusion between privilege and confidentiality. So, let’s get right down to it. What is confidentiality? In a nutshell, confidentiality is a legal and ethical requirement placed on therapists that restricts sharing client information to third parties. This is pertinent in our daily work with clients. If anyone asks for client
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Law & Ethics Exam Prep: Dual Relationships

Submitted by Maria Denardo on Mon, 07/31/2023 - 09:42am
Today’s law and ethics exam prep topic deals with dual relationships. Dual relationships are an ethical issue in which there are two or more relationships in play at the same time between a client and a therapist, or a supervisor and a pre-licensed trainee/associate that may cause a blurring of boundaries. Some dual relationships are prohibited and others are unavoidable. All of them, however, require the therapist’s careful consideration. Dual relationships with clients (or current supervisees) that are prohibited include sexual relationships; becoming personal friends; therapeutically
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Law & Ethics Exam Prep: Issues with Colleagues

Submitted by Maria Denardo on Wed, 06/14/2023 - 08:44am
Whether therapists operate in group collectives, a hospital setting, or private practice, each of us are connected within a broader mental health community that’s upheld by supporting and regulating each other. If a colleague significantly transgresses the laws or ethics of the field, there are specific steps of action the BBS expects clinicians to take to help resolve the violation. On the law and ethics exam, you’ll most likely see issues with colleagues show up in one or two ways. You may be tested on questions regarding colleagues who engage in sexual relations with their clients, or you
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Law and Ethics Exam Prep: Tarasoff

Submitted by Maria Denardo on Sat, 05/20/2023 - 08:20am

This month, we’re tackling the topic of duty to protect as it relates to the 1976 Tarasoff ruling by the California Supreme Court. If you’re a new therapist and you can’t remember the protocol for Tarasoff situations, you’re not alone. Most associates have little to no professional experience with clients who are a danger to others, which can often lead to confusion around a therapist’s legal responsibilities, particularly on the CA law and ethics exam. And that’s where we come in. Here are the primary ways the BBS will evaluate your understanding of Tarasoff on the test: How to assess for

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Law and Ethics Exam Prep: Termination

Submitted by Maria Denardo on Sat, 04/29/2023 - 04:06pm
The way psychotherapy concludes with a client can be a vital aspect of healing. This final stage of counseling, clinically referred to as “termination,” typically indicates when a client will transition to another clinician, take a prolonged break, or no longer receive therapy. An ideal termination phase is often viewed as a time to consolidate client goals and achievements, highlight strengths, anticipate future obstacles, and review coping mechanisms to maintain growth. When done well, a termination centers the client’s wellbeing, preserves therapeutic integrity, and can even provide a
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Law and Ethics Exam Prep: Gifts

Submitted by Maria Denardo on Tue, 04/25/2023 - 11:35am

Is it legal for therapists to accept gifts from clients? Is it ethical? At what point is a gift considered too valuable? These are just a few of the questions we receive from associates who struggle with the nuance of gift-giving within the therapeutic relationship. The short answer is that there are no legal or ethical prohibitions against giving or receiving gifts between therapists and clients. And there’s no set guidelines for the monetary value of gifts. However, depending on the situation, ethical dilemmas (like dual relationships) and legal ramifications can arise when a potential gift

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