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Convention - Thursday Institutes
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Thursday Institutes - 10 am to 5 pm (6 CE Credits)

Separate registration required

Toward a Deeper Understanding of Ethical Issues in Professional Psychology

Important ethical aspects of our professional work as psychologists are only partially addressed at times. This program will identify several areas of our work that psychologists will want to pay closer attention to and will provide knowledge and skills to address those areas from ethically and culturally sensitive considerations. Using a structured approach to complex ethical dilemmas often encountered in professional practice, presenters will demonstrate through use of case examples how to identify relevant issues, effectively consult with colleagues, and develop an ethically, clinically, and legally sound plan with risk management considerations. Attendees will have opportunities to practice this model in facilitated small group interactions and subsequent larger group discussion. Cases discussed will present dilemmas based on the topics addressed earlier in the program. A legal update on current issues affecting psychologists in California will also be presented.

Participants will be able to:

  • Parse complex ethical dilemmas into relevant component parts: legal, ethical, and clinical with attention to risk management considerations, and synthesize the relevant issues into an ethically appropriate plan of action.
  • Apply culturally sensitive ethical approaches to treatment of clients from diverse populations, and . apply methods to address cultural competence through learning from clients/patients
  • Apply knowledge of current issues in California law, and  current legal requirements for professional psychology practice, in work with clients.
  • Make informed decisions about and from whom to obtain appropriate consults based on the nature of the questions or concerns (e.g., ethical, risk management, legal, clinical)
  • Develop skills to be mindful about cognitive biases that may affect treatment.
Mary Harb Sheets, PhD is a psychologist working in independent practice and teaching Advanced Law and Ethics at Alliant University. She is a Fellow and Past President of the San Diego Psychological Association (SDPA), and chaired the SDPA Ethics Committee. Currently a member of CPA’s Ethics Committee, she writes and presents regularly on ethical issues in psychology.
Tamara L. Anderson, PhD is Associate Dean and Professor of Psychology at Rosemead School of Psychology, Biola University where she teaches Ethics. She has served on the board of Div. II, of the CPA, and currently serves on the CPA Ethics Committee. Dr. Anderson also has a private practice in La Mirada, CA.
Robin S. Rosenberg. PhD is a clinical psychologist and executive coach who  writes both college-level psychology textbooks and non-fiction books that  illustrate psychological concepts and phenomena. She is Board Certified in  clinical psychology by the American Board of professional Psychology. Dr. Rosenberg is Vice Chair of the CPA Ethics Committee. Her  website is

 O. Brandt Caudill, Jr.,JD practices law in the Orange County office of Callahan,  Thompson, Sherman & Caudill, LLP. He is an active member of the California  bar.  Mr. Caudill is a recognized expert in the area of defense of mental  health professionals, both in the civil and administrative contexts.  He has  represented mental health professionals in precedent setting cases.
 Mr. Caudill speaks regularly to various nationwide professional groups and  has written several books addressing legal issues facing mental health  professionals.

Ethical and Cultural Connsiderations in the Treatment of Trauma: Beyond the DSM

This workshop will explore how to apply the Trauma Disorders section of the DSM within a culturally competent framework. Trauma is a biopsychosocial/existential experience that involves not only fear, but also dynamics of attachment, betrayal, and context. All human beings have multiple intersectional identities, and trauma is experienced through the lenses of those intersectionalities. Additionally, the distress associated with trauma is not always neatly packaged into the criteria for PTSD. Instead, culture and other aspects of identity inform how distress is both experienced phenomenologically, and expressed externally. The manners in which distress is expressed range through the entire Trauma Disorders section of DSM-5 and beyond. So as to be precise in our clinical understanding of how trauma affects people differentially, we will examine strategies to move towards enhance cultural competence in work with all trauma survivors. Ethical considerations of how to assess and respond clinically to individuals with histories of complex developmental trauma, post-colonial trauma, and other intergenerational manifestations of trauma will be explored, and ethical challenges raised by trauma-affected transferences and countertransferences will be examined.

Participants will be able to:

  • Define the construct of intersectionality and how it applies to trauma treatment.
  • List the four most common responses to shame and their therapeutic implications with trauma survivors.
  • Describe common countertransference errors that contain risks for ethical problems.
  • Describe and define complex developmental trauma, betrayal trauma, and post-colonial trauma.
 Laura S Brown, PhD ABPP is a clinical and forensic psychologist in  independent practice in Seattle WA. She has written and taught extensively on  topics in the intersection of trauma and cultural competence, and is the
 author of two books for trauma survivors in addition to ten volumes for  professional audiences. She is featured as the professional in three APA  psychotherapy videos and in the recent APA supervision video series. She  has recently earned the rank of black belt in Aikido.

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