By Lea Goldstein, Ph.D.
The theme of our Spring Newsletter is Professional Development. SMCPA is committed to assisting members in enhancing their careers. I’m happy to report on several new avenues for each of us to do just that.
First and foremost, after a year without a Continuing Education Chair, I have recently appointed one of our newest members, Megan Goodwin, to the position. Megan comes with enthusiasm and energy and has already begun work on a number of opportunities for continuing education and practice development.
Nancy Marx, our Membership Chair, implemented a Mentorship Program, matching seasoned clinicians with early career psychologists. Unlike supervision, the purpose of the program is to help our newest members address many of the issues that arise starting out in our profession that are rarely, if ever, mentioned in graduate school. Our hope is that long-time members will also benefit from these relationships by learning what is new and different in our field.
And on that note, we are bringing our chapter into the 21stcentury by forging a presence on social media sites. Please look for SMCPA on LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook,and Twitter! Jonah Lakin, a new student member, has offered to set up accounts so that mental health providers can see what we’re up to. Look for his announcement in this newsletter and sign up. Yes, old dogs can learn new tricks. So come on board!
SMCPA is on Social Media! (updated January 2013)
by Jonah Lakin
The SMCPA is now on LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, and Twitter.These sites will help us increase public awareness of our organization and inform potential new members about our events. The more members we have for these groups, the greater our visibility will be!
You can find us on LinkedIn by searching for the group “San Mateo County Psychological Association” and requesting to join. This will be a place to discuss professional issues and learn about upcoming events and opportunities.
To join us on Google+, go to www.plus.google.com and sign up for a Google account if you don’t already have one. Then search for “SMCPA” and click “Follow.” Please “like” us on Facebook by going to http://www.facebook.com/SanMateoCountyPsychologicalAssociation and clicking on “like.” We’ll be posting about upcoming events as well as photos from previous events. Write on our wall or send us a message if you would like others to know about an event you’re having! This group will be open to students who are interested in our organization, as well.
Lastly, our username on Twitter is “SMCPA.” Follow us on Twitter for posts about upcoming events as well as commentary on current events and information regarding important issues to our professional community.
If you have any comments, questions or concerns regarding our social media--or even your own-please contact Student Board Member Jonah Lakin at JonahLakin@gmail.com.
The Professional Will
by Carol Wong, Ph.D.
Most of us are so occupied with the day-to-day activities of work and home that we do not have time to stop and think about our futures.We are guilty of procrastination and putting off tasks that are overwhelming to us. Planning for death is an area we may avoid thinking about because we think it will not happen for a long time. Thus, we may not prioritize writing a professional will. However, we all know that we will die one day. Although I had learned about the professional will in my ethics courses, I admit that I have not completed one. It was not brought to my attention until a former colleague recently asked me to be the executor of his professional will. Thus, to understand my responsibilities, I sought out are fresher continuing education course about preparing the professional will.
According to the code of ethics that psychologists adhereto, we have an ethical responsibility to make reasonable efforts to plan forfacilitating services for our clients in the unfortunate event of our practiceterminating unexpectedly such as us dying or becoming disabled. Preparing aprofessional will helps to protect ourselves, our estate (from being sued forimproper handling of client records or client care continuity), and significantothers in the case of our sudden death or disability. We would not want to putour significant others and colleagues through the daunting task of figuring outhow to make these final arrangements for our practices. If we take the time tomake a detailed plan for how we want the disposition of our practice to becarried out, it will minimize the burden on those we have
entrusted to carry out the will.
It will be necessary to choose an executor for your professional will. It is important that the executor is a licensed clinician. Depending on the size of your practice and how much work will be needed to carry out the will, it may be wise to have a couple of other clinicians added to the team to work with the executor or back up the executor if he/she is not available for some reason. Responsibilities include contacting clients, processing the sudden transition, and helping with referrals to ensure the continuity of care. Thus,the professional will should contain your directions on how you want your clients to be contacted, who you want to be contacted, what they should be told, and what referrals should be provided. The professional will should supply the executor of the will with a means to access clients’ contact information and clients’ clinical records (including information on where records are kept, passwords, and keys to the office and file cabinets). To make this whole process go smoothly, the executor of the will should have the contact information for others who are involved in the practice such as administrative assistants or business partners/managers. The executor will also need the contact information of the executor of the personal will and any attorneys involved in the disposition of the personal and/or professional will.The executor will also need to inform the licensing board and the insurance company providing the professional liability insurance. You may also want colleagues and other professional associations to be notified. In summary, it is advantageous to have a more detailed professional will in order for the process to go as smoothly as possible.
This summary is not intended to substitute your own education about the professional will, but hopefully, this will be a jump start to the process of completing your own professional will. I hope this article will encourage you to talk with your colleagues about this important topic and perhaps you can all work together on this task which will make it easier to complete. Then we can rest assured that we have responsibly provided the best possible care to our clients.
Carol Wong, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist in private practice in San Mateo. She specializes in the treatment of children, adolescents, and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders and/or anxiety including selective mutism. She also conducts various social skills groups for children from preschool age to adolescence.
For more information on how to write a professional will, please refer to these resources:
Disaster Preparedness for You and Your Practice
by Marilyn Foley, Ph.D.
Is your practice ready for a disaster? How would your practice be affected if a major disaster were to strike right now?
The particular location where you live and have your practice has a specific Disaster Risk Profile. What does this mean? Depending on where you live, you are at a high, medium, or low level of risk for various potential disasters. For example, we live on the San Andreas Fault, thus we can assume we are at high risk for an earthquake.
Once you have identified your DRP, you can prepare to minimize the impact on yourself, your practice and your clients. Having a plan and preparing in advance will make a big difference if you suddenly find yourself in the middle of a disaster.
The preparation of a Professional Will would be a logical first step for a worst-case scenario. A professional will can help minimize the disruption of services to your clientèle in a worst-case scenario.
If you are still functioning but your office was wiped out, you should have at the bare minimum,your basic office contact information available to you at an alternative site from your practice. If your office is unusable, you should have an alternative site in mind to see your clients.
There are a number of nuts and bolts issues to consider: a voice mail system rather than an answering machine, or a cell phone vs. a land line. Is your pager or answering service more vulnerable to disruption than a cell phone backup? You may want to contact your clients with information about your availability, to help with coping skills.
The following area few coping ahead strategies that can put you in a strong position in case of the worst case scenario:
Advance Planning:Think through your risk factors in advance and have a basic plan in place for the most likely scenarios you may encounter in your area. Taking the Red Cross Disaster training will give you an idea of what people are up against in a disaster as well as what’s useful and what is not.
Self Care: Pay attention to your needs, rest, get exercise, eat well, have down time and keep in touch with your social support network.
Flexibility and Creativity: Remaining flexible will help you adapt to the circumstances, and will be a major part of how well you get thought the situation, and how much you are able to help your clients and others.
Resilience:The best time to build resilience is now.
- Make connections
- Avoid seeing crises as insurmountable.
- Accept that change is a part of living
- Move toward your goals
- Take decisive actions
- Look for opportunities for self-discovery
- Nurture a positive view of your self
- Keep things in perspective
- Maintain a hopeful outlook
- Take care of yourself
Marilyn Foley, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist located in downtown Redwood City at the corner of Broadway and Main Streets. She has over 15 years of experience with addiction, mood, and personality disorders. Her background and training was very traditional and psychodynamic, but over the years as she saw more patients with substance abuse issues and patients with severe emotional vulnerability, her focus shifted towards evidence-based treatments, such as Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and Mentalization Based Therapy. In her private practice she sees individuals(18 and up) and facilitates DBT Skills groups for individuals and family members. She has been a member of the San Mateo Psychological Association since 2008, and holds the position of co-chair of the Disaster Response Network.
Roost, A., (March/April 2007). Disaster Preparedness foryour Practice, The CaliforniaPsychologist, Vol. 40, No. 2, 18-22.
Legal and Ethical Issues for Clinical Supervisors
by Cynthia Medina, Ph.D.
Providing clinical supervision to practicum students, interns, and post doctoral fellows/ residents is a wonderful way to give back to the profession of psychology, to help the next generations of clinicians to develop their skills, and to keep our own clinical skills sharp. However, it is also a tremendous responsibility and it is important that current and future supervisors take the time to develop their knowledge of legal and ethical standards when it comes to supervision. The topic of legal and ethical issues in supervision is vast; this article focuses on issues related to patient care and supervisor liability.
For psychologists, ethical standards are largely guided by the American Psychological Association’s Ethical Principals of Psychologists and Code of Conduct. With regards to patient care provided by a supervisee, the supervisor has several responsibilities to the patient. These responsibilities are related to protecting the patient’s rights and acting in his/her best interests. The supervisor is also charged with ensuring that the supervisee’s patients are receiving a reasonable standard of care; while there are many ways this can be accomplished, a good way is to periodically conduct observations of the supervisee’s work, such as through one-way mirror observation, viewing videotapes or listening to audiotapes of sessions (the patient must first sign a written consent to be videotaped/ audio taped). The supervisor must also ensure that the supervisee’s patients are informed regarding the risks and benefits of treatment, as well as the different types of treatment, and the fact that the supervisee will be participating in regular supervision.
As supervisors, in legal situations we are subject to two types of liability when it comes to our supervisees’ work. There is direct liability, which refers to liability for our own actions that caused harm to the patient. These situations tend to be less common as the supervisor generally does not have very much direct contact with the supervisee’spatients. There is also vicarious liability, which refers to liability for thesupervisee’s actions which led to harm to the patient, even if the supervisorwas not aware of those actions. Examples of vicarious liability are: Situations where the patient was not informed of the supervisee’s status; the supervisee failed to adequately identify situations involving risk; the supervisee has too many cases for the supervisor to monitor appropriately; the supervisee commits a breach of confidentiality that resulted from a lack of understanding of the concept of confidentiality; or the supervisor fails to obtain adequate information about a case from the supervisee during supervision, leading to patient harm.
How can we as supervisors protect ourselves in these situations? It is important that we are able to demonstrate our own competency as supervisors; for example, by participating in supervision workshops. We should also ensure that we are knowledgeable about current legal and ethical standards, and that our supervisees are knowledgeable as well. We should maintain adequate liability insurance (and supervisees should maintain insurance as well). We should periodically review our supervisees’ documentation and do what we can to keep their case loads at manageable levels.We should be available in emergency/crisis situations. An extremely important aspect of responsible supervision is documentation. We should take the time to document our supervisees’ performance and progress, but we also need to maintain documentation of each patient on the supervisee’s case load. Such documentation should contain demographic and clinical information about each patient and information about when each case was opened and closed. This documentation should be kept in a locked cabinet, separate from notes about the supervisee.
In crisis situations involving a supervisee’s patient, the supervisor should also document what was discussed during supervision regarding the crisis situation, taking particular note of all suggestions and recommendations that were provided to the supervisee. Equally important, the supervisor should follow up with the supervisee afterwards and document the results of the follow-up. In situations where the supervisor chooses to consult with a colleague on a supervisory matter, the supervisor should also document the consultation and any suggestions that were discussed.
With careful, thorough preparation and vigilance,supervision can be a rewarding, enriching experience for supervisors and supervisees alike. Those who are interested in learning more about legal andethical issues in supervision, or other issues related to supervision such as dual relationships, competence, due process, etc., are encouraged to explore the references below.
Cynthia Medina, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist in private practice in San Mateo. She specializes in evaluations for children and adolescents experiencing difficulties with attention,learning, executive functioning, and mental health/behavioral issues such as anxiety and depression.
Bernard, J.M., & Goodyear, R.K. (2008). Fundamentals of Clinical Supervision (4th Ed.)
Falendar, C.A., & Shafranske, E.P. (2004). Clinical Supervision: A Competency-Based Approach.
American Psychological Association (2002). EthicalPrinciples of Psychologists and Code of Conduct.
Responding to Advertising Violations: Note from the SMCPABoard
Our association consulted with CPA regarding advertising violations that occur on social media sites. CPA has taken the position that its role as an organization is not a policing role. CPA will not monitor advertising or respond to advertising violations. It is important to keep in mind that if a mental health professional violates advertising regulations such as by not clearly indicating his or her licensure status or by describing him/herself as having a different licensure status, then it is that professional’s licensing board (Board of Behavioral Sciences for MFTs and social workers, Board of Psychology for psychologists) that is responsible for addressing the violation.
At times mental health professionals include misleading information in their marketing. At other times, social media sites list misinformation without the knowledge or permission of the mental health professional. If an individual psychologist witnesses false advertising, CPA recommended that the psychologist call the mental health professional and use the following wording to make him or her aware of the unlawful nature of the advertising:
“I’m calling you out of concern that you could be accused of illegal representation and that you might be contacted by a local district attorney.”
This wording was recommended in order to protect the individual psychologist from liability.
Bits and Pieces from the CPA Board
by Linda Schneider, Ph.D.
Affordable Health Care Act:
Whether or not this plan goes forward in its present or some redesigned form, states have been given the authority to begin making plans for what implementation might be. Psychologists are not yet at the table for California's ACO (Accountable Care Organization). CPA is working to have a presence and represent Psychologists’ best interests. CPA needs more membership to do this with more vigor. Only 25% of California Psychologists are CPA members. MFT's not only have a larger percentage of licensed members, their numbers outweigh psychologists substantially. If you want to support your future and you’re not a CPA member, join today (http://www.cpapsych.org).
Non-clinicians, Academicians, Researchers, Public Service Psychologists:
CPA wants to represent all licensed psychologists in California. Please let me or Jo Linder-Crow (CEO of CPA: email listed at the above website)know what needs you would like addressed. Work is already underway to make CPA more relevant to California-licensed psychologists.
Straight from Jo Linder-Crow,CEO of CPA:
If you have received a letter saying that you need to be fingerprinted,check the upcoming issue of the California Psychologist for an article with tips on exactly what you need to do. It is true that even if you have been finger printed for work in another area or with another agency, you must be fingerprinted again for the Board of Psychology. This is because the Department of Justice will NOT share the fingerprints between agencies (it's not a Board of Psychology rule). There is more information on the Board of Psychology website at www.psychboard.ca.gov.
News You Can Use
Changes to Your Continuing Education Record Keeping:
The MCEP Accrediting Agency ceased to exist at the end of 2012, and the Board of Psychology will transition to a 10% random audit system to determine compliance with the mandated CE requirement. Practically speaking, this means that if you will be renewing your license on or after January 1, 2013, you will need to keep track of your CE certificates yourself, and make them available to the BOP should you be selected for a random audit. This is consistent with how other regulatory boards in California work. Please watch for details and information in the California Psychologist and on the CPA website. CPA will be sending out information on exactly what this means for you and for the currently approved providers.
Social Media is alive and well at CPA!
Find CPA on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cpapsych, and join our CPA Group on LinkedIn. There are now 1200 LinkedIn group members that include psychologists from around the world! This group is open to all psychologists and psychology students,so spread the word. This is your community, so join and tell your friends. Follow Jo Linder Crow (CPA's CEO) on Twitter at http://twitter.com/jlccpa. You might be surprised at what you see her tuning into! If you're on Twitter, she may follow you, too.
Linda R. Schneider, Ph.D.
CPA Board of Directors
San Mateo Representative
Redwood City, CA 94061
ph/fx (650) 368-5047
DIALACTICAL BEHAVIORAL THERAPY SKILLS GROUP FOR FAMILY AND FRIENDS
- Do you often find yourself “walking on eggshells”?
- Do you find yourself confused by the rapid mood changes of someone you love with severe emotional vulnerability?
- Are you worried by the self-destructive behavior of someone you love with severe emotional vulnerability?
If so, in this ten-week class you will learn to:
- Use mindfulness skills to regulate emotional responses.
- Use validation to establish better channels for communication.
- Understand the bio/psycho/social model of severe emotional vulnerability associated with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) to establish empathy.
- Gain a common language to lessen feelings of hopelessness.
- Replace blame and shame with problem solving.
Next group begins:
Time: 6:00 - 7:30 PM
Place: 2000 Broadway Street #232, Redwood City, CA 94063
For more information and to enroll contact
Marilyn Foley, Ph.D. at (650) 634-9896
or email Mjfoley9@gmail.com
OFFICE SUBLET IN SAN MATEO
Psychotherapy office available part-time in beautiful suite on San Mateo Drive. Fully furnished, waiting room with light alert system, separate exit for privacy. Fully outfitted kitchen and shower for use by therapists. Building is handicap accessible, on bus route, and walking distance to downtown San Mateo.
For more information or to view, please call or e-mail
Lori Luft at 650-340-8229
OFFICE FOR SUBLET IN REDWOOD CITY
Beautiful, large, unique, peaceful and quiet psychotherapy office in downtown Redwood City. Lovely new furniture, nicely and warmly decorated, includes sand play. The office may be used for work with children, teens and adults. Well maintained full service Victorian building (kitchen, copy-machine, fax, professionally decorated waiting rooms, etc). Excellent location. Pleasant and supportive tenant community within building. Available Thursday through Monday and all evenings. On occasion also available Tuesday & Wednesday. Office is available to sublet on a per day (including evening hrs) basis.
Please contact Dr Nanette Rowe at 650-363-8384.