As a mental health professional, your license is your lifeblood; it should be protected at all costs. In most instances, the bright-line rules help keep license holders in compliance. However, the modern and complex world continually conjures varied situations that may not provide clear boundaries for professionals.
Even bright-line rules may not help when mental health professionals find themselves engaging in risky conduct.
Fortunately, mental health professionals can do much to help ensure they remain in good standing within their professions and continue to provide valuable mental health treatment. Avoiding certain behaviors and actions is the first step.
Avoid Inappropriate Relationships
Any type of relationship that is outside of the therapy relationship you have with a client should be avoided. Although this prohibition is well known, many mental health professionals find themselves in need of a professional license defense lawyer for just this reason.
As far as relationships with clients after therapy has terminated, professional groups and boards recommend a five-year wait plus a condition that the relationship must be in the best interests of the former client.
Maintain and Preserve Client Records and Case Notes
Best practices require timely maintenance and updating of client records and notes. It is easy to get behind or skip certain aspects of record keeping. However, you need up-to-date records to help ensure seamless treatment and continuity of quality care for your patients.
Know Your Professional and Personal Limitations
Every mental health professional has boundaries within which they are free to provide care. Stepping out of these lines puts you into risky territory that threatens the mental health of your client and your professional standing. Knowing and obeying your professional limits keeps you in your wheelhouse and your patients safe.
Comply with Continuing Education Requirements
As with most professionals, mental health practitioners have important continuing education requirements. Believe it or not, some of the most competent mental health professionals run afoul of their continuing education requirements and end up needing a professional license defense lawyer. Making continuing education a priority will keep you up to date on your requirements.
Seek Guidance When in Doubt
When mental health professionals guess, they put their patients at risk. However, some choose to rely on educated guesses and assumptions when they face a formidable problem. The best course of action when in doubt for any professional is to seek guidance and insight from peers and colleagues.
Join Professional Organizations and Groups for Support
No mental health professional should be an island. Support is necessary and available for all mental health professionals. Engaging with kindred professionals and professional organizations can prevent you from becoming a one-man burnout show by supporting you when and where you need it the most.
No one likes to seek the services of a professional license defense lawyer, but many do so for a variety of reasons. However, you can avoid the headaches that go along with license defense by keeping in mind the points detailed above.
S J Harris Law can potentially help you get out from under professional license troubles and back to providing quality mental health services for your clients. Contact our office for a consultation, and learn what options you have for defending your professional license.