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Avoiding the Slippery Slope in Private Practice

Managing Complex Ethical Issues


5 Ethics CEs

Saturday, March 9, 2024

9:30 AM- 3:00 PM EST

Avoiding The Slippery Slope In Private Practice: Managing Complex Ethical Issues, course #4856 is approved by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program to be offered by Leslie S. Tsukroff, Inc. as an individual course. Regulatory boards are the final authority on courses accepted for continuing education credit. ACE course approval period: 03/16/2023 - 03/16/2025.
Social workers completing this course receive 5 ethics continuing education credits. 
ACE individual course approval meets the NJ Board of Social Work Examiners requirements for individual course approval pursuant to NJ Code 13:44G-6.4.16

Approved Delivery Methods and Formats:
Distance learning:
Live, interactive and synchronous distance​

Join New Jersey’s premier ethics consultant, Leslie S. Tsukroff, MSW, LCSW for an informative and interactive workshop in which participants will leave this workshop being able to:

  • Identify, approach, manage and avoid complicated ethical issues

  • Recognize the most frequent ethical issues encountered by private practitioners

  • Develop a framework to approach ethical decision-making

  • Apply 6 key steps to reduce ethical malpractice risk

Course Description

As professional social workers, we are mandated to make clinical decisions based on the NASW Code of Ethics, relevant state and federal laws, and what is considered “The Standard of Care”, not on our personal value systems.    Clinical social workers in private practice are at a disadvantage in that they often do not have the immediate, on-site support and guidance of a multi-disciplinary team, supervisor, or social work colleague and often find themselves facing challenging and avoidable ethical dilemmas.


In this workshop, through the use culturally diverse case examples and interactive discussions (small and whole group), participants will apply The NASW Code of Ethics, supporting documents and relevant laws to complex ethical situations. The ethical and legal social work concepts of client rights, confidentiality and privacy, informed consent, and conflicts of interest and will be analyzed and explored.  Important factors including social worker competence and integrity, scope of practice, and commitment to clients will be highlighted.





How to Register
    Register and pay on-line with a credit card    
    Print registration form and mail
By Phone: 973-879-1678
    Register and pay with a credit card or
    Request a registration form
    Request a registration form

Target Audience
This course is designed for social workers and mental health professionals in private practice.  


Course Content Level


Program will be 5 hours of actual time
There will be (2) 10 minute breaks mid-morning and mid-afternoon

Lunch will be 30 minutes on your own


Introduction (25 minutes)



Discussion of agenda and tools for workshop

Overview of the NASW Code of Ethics

Ethical decision making

Managing conflicts within the Code, laws, agency policies

Statistics on the 8 most commonly substantiated ethical complaints against social workers

Function of NASW Office of Ethics and Professional Review and the licensure boards in protecting consumers

Informed consent (35 minutes)

Ethical and legal definitions, interpretations and applications of informed consent standards

Steps to gaining valid informed consent as per the NASW COE and The NASW Standards for Clinical Social Work in Social Work Practice

Applying informed consent when working with minors, in cases of parental separation/divorce, and parental non-involvement/ absence; social worker responsibility

Review of the age of majority, age of consent minor consent laws and special circumstances, parents’ rights

Conflicts among the NASW COE and NJ statutory, regulatory and state laws; ethical-decision making

Case example and discussion; quiz

Privacy and confidentiality (40 minutes)

Definitions and misunderstandings

Written policies and procedures in meeting informed consent standards

Relevant standards in the COE, federal, state and regulatory laws

Special populations: Couples, Families, Groups, and Collaterals - informed consent and conflicts of interest

Applying ethical guidelines and legal obligations regarding releasing/withholding records

Development of policies and procedures

Case examples; Zoom breakouts

Break- 10 minutes

Conflicts of interest (60 minutes)

Definition of conflicts of interest, boundaries, dual/multiple relationships

Commitment to clients

Dual relationships occurring within the therapeutic relationship, concurrent and sequential

Ethically problematic vs. ethically non-problematic

Best practice with special populations: minors/parents, families, couples, and groups

Social worker responsibility in resolving the conflict with minimal harm to client

Discussion- case examples; Case example- Zoom break outs ; quiz


Avoiding potential conflicts of interest (45 minutes)

Balancing personal and professional lives

Identification, avoidance and managing the “what ifs”

Boundary management in the social worker’s community:  unavoidable; the unexpected boundary interference; intentional boundary crossing

Special events/circumstances; client life events; between private practice and employer

Apply skills to identify and manage ethical dilemmas related to conflicts of interest

Discussion- case examples

Exploration of role incompatibility (20 minutes)

Definitions of fact witness and expert witness

Discussion of treating clinician and forensic evaluator with regards to child custody, visitation and divorce and report writing, certifying animals

Discussion- case examples

Client Termination (30 minutes)

Termination of services-Commitment to clients, abandonment, identifying valid circumstances in which it is appropriate to initiate termination/transfer of client; pre-mature termination, discussion and exploration of clinical, legal and ethical implications around the termination process, recommended policies, procedures and documentation

Review of informed consent standards and clinician’s responsibilities around termination, emergencies and interruption of services, and technology failure.

Discussion- case examples

BREAK-10 minutes

Integrity, Fraud, misrepresentation (15 minutes)

solicitations and use of testimonials; Misrepresentation of services provided; Dishonesty, Fraud and Deception-

Managing malpractice risk (20 minutes)

Review and discussion of Frederick Reamer’s framework for ethical decision-making

Risk management tools in Private Practice

Definitions of “Standard of care” and “Malpractice” and implications

Exploration of the 6 key steps to avoiding/reducing ethical mistakes in Private Practice

Q and A and Final thoughts (10 minutes)

Deadlines, Cancellation/Refund Policies, Complaints, ADA Needs, Questions/Concerns

  • If participants have any questions or concerns or are dissatisfied with any part of the registration process, facilities, non-receipt of certificates, the presenter or the presentation, or any other complaints, they should contact Leslie S. Tsukroff, MSW, LCSW, the program administrator directly @ 973-879-1678 or @

  • In order to assist in the ethical and timely resolution of grievances, Leslie S. Tsukroff, Inc.’s Auxiliary Social Work Consultant, Laura Taylor, MSW, LSW will be actively involved in addressing and resolving all disputes.  

  • If the results of the grievance process are unsatisfactory, New Jersey social workers have the option to contact the approving entity, with an option to appeal to their licensing board.

  • All complaints will be responded to within 7 days from the receipt of the complaint.

  • Full refunds will be given to registrants up until 1 week (7 days) prior to the event. 

  • Requests for refunds must be made in writing and mailed to Leslie S. Tsukroff, Inc., Business Management Consulting for Mental Health Practitioners, 68 North Bridge Street, Somerville, NJ 08876 or via e-mail to

  • Registration Deadlines: For virtual events BY MAIL 7 days prior to event. BY E-MAIL 1 day prior to the event. ONLINE- 90 minutes prior to event. 

  • ​Leslie S. Tsukroff, Inc. would be happy to accommodate your ADA Needs.  Please call (973-879-1678) to discuss at least 2 weeks prior to event.

  • If you have any questions, please call Leslie S. Tsukroff, MSW, LCSW @ 973-879-1678 or e-mail her @

Course Completion
Live, virtual, synchronous interactive webinar: 
Certificates will be e-mailed to participants within 7 days:
1.    Who attend the entire session
2.    Return a completed course evaluation.  
3.    Course evaluations will be e-mailed to registrants who attend the entire session, within 30 minutes of the workshop ending. 



Leslie S. Tsukroff, MSW, LCSW is the Founder and Executive Director of Leslie S. Tsukroff, Inc, which encompasses both her private psychotherapy practice and her consulting business, Business Management Consulting for Mental Health Practitioners. Leslie hails from a long line of entrepreneurs, following in the footsteps of her grandfathers, uncles, father and her mother.  Prior to launching her own psychotherapy practice in 1999, she worked in the trenches as a child/family preventative services worker, an on-site school mental health counselor, and as staff clinician at a community-based agency.  She gained further invaluable knowledge while developing clinical preventive programs for at-risk youth, spearheading startup programs for non-profits and working as an outpatient care manager during the rise of managed care during the 1990s.  


Leslie is a recognized authority in professional ethics, risk management and private practice development in New Jersey. Her passion for social work professional ethics grew from her interest in the law and her prior employment at a law firm during college. While she determined early on that a career in law was not the right fit for her, serving on the NASW-NJ Ethics Committee and later being appointed Chairperson presented the opportunity to meld her clinical, ethical and legal worlds.


Most recently, she had the honor and privilege of serving on a task force charged with developing a new, comprehensive, and practical document for NASW entitled, “Clinical Social Workers in Private Practice: A Reference Manual.” In addition to providing input on the entire document, Leslie lent her professional ethics and private practice expertise by authoring sections on the subjects of professional wills, retirement and closing a private practice, minor's rights, issues impacting minors whose parents are divorced/separated, business planning, subpoenas, sliding scales, client–social worker practice agreements, informed consent standards and suggested case record forms.


With close to 3 decades of giving back to the social work and mental health communities, Leslie has served on various Boards of Directors, written articles, offered pro-bono presentations, and provided low-cost supervision and consultation to mental health professionals throughout the tri-state area.  As a Qualified Clinical Supervisor in New Jersey, she is committed to ensuring future generations of clinical social workers have the necessary skills to practice competently and ethically. Throughout her career she has served on several professional committees/task forces focused on continuing education for social workers, private practitioner concerns, insurance and managed care issues and social work licensure rules and requirements.

Leslie conducts engaging training workshops focusing on traditional business practices, risk management, documentation and record-keeping, private practice development, billing, ethical and legal issues and clinical matters. She has a passion for the collaborative learning process, and drawing on her clinical/ethics–related expertise she provides customized clinical, ethical, and private practice building consultations.  


In addition to her mental health consulting business, she maintains an office in Somerville, New Jersey and provides remote psychotherapy to clients located in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. 

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