Avoiding the Slippery Slope in Private Practice

Managing Complex Ethical Issues

5 Ethics CEUs

Avoiding The Slippery Slope In Private Practice: Managing Complex Ethical Issues, course #2205 is approved by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program to be offered by Leslie S. Tsukroff, MSW, LCSW as an individual course. Individual courses, not providers, are approved at the course level. State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit. ACE course approval period: from 01/17/2019 to 01/17/2021.


Social workers completing this course receive 5 ethics continuing education credits.

Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, Leslie has been given temporary approval to conduct this course via live, interactive webinar by ASWB/ACE. 

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, small group discussion and by examining The NASW Code of Ethics, participants will learn how to identify, approach, manage and avoid complicated ethical issues. With reference to pertinent values, standards and principals in the NASW Code of Ethics and relevant laws,  the presenter will highlight significant ethical and legal social work concepts such as:  client rights; confidentiality and privacy;  informed consent; boundaries/conflicts of interest; misrepresentation/fraud; and commitment to clients. Important ethical/clinical areas including social worker competence, documentation, supervision/consultation and client termination will also be addressed. 



In-person $125.00

Live, interactive webinar: $100.00

Target Audience
This course is designed for intermediate social workers in private practice.

Program will be 5 hours of actual time
There will be (2) 15 minute breaks mid-morning and mid-afternoon

Lunch will be 60 minutes on your own

Introduction (40 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
Review of the 8 most commonly substantiated ethical complaints against social workers, statistics on national and state alleged ethical violations
Function of NASW Office of Ethics and Professional Review and the NJ Board of Social Work Examiners and licensure complaints
Informed consent and fees (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 and special circumstances
Conflicts among the NASW COE and NJ statutory, regulatory and state laws; ethical-decision making
Break- 15 minutes
Privacy and confidentiality (30 minutes)
Definitions and misunderstandings
The importance of written policies and procedures in meeting informed consent standards
Relevant standards in the COE, federal, state and regulatory laws
Special populations    : Couples, Families, Groups
Applying ethical guidelines and legal obligations regarding releasing/withholding records
Development of policies and procedures
Conflicts of interest (50 minutes)
Definition of conflicts of interest, boundaries, dual/multiple relationships
Dual relationships occurring within the therapeutic relationship
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


Avoiding potential conflicts of interest (65 minutes)
Balancing personal and professional lives
Identification, avoidance and managing the “what ifs”
Boundary management in the social worker’s community:  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
Exploration of role incompatibility    
Definitions of fact witness and expert witness
Discussion of treating clinician and forensic evaluator with regards to child custody/visitation/divorce/report writing
Client Termination (30 minutes)
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.
BREAK-15 minutes

Integrity, Fraud, misrepresentation (20 minutes)
Misrepresentation of services provided, use of testimonials
Review and discussion of Frederick Reamer’s framework for ethical decision-making (10 minutes)
Risk management tools in Private Practice (20 minutes)

Definitions of “Standard of care” and “Malpractice” and implications
Exploration of the 6 key steps to avoiding/reducing ethical mistakes in Private Practice

Leslie S. Tsukroff, MSW, LCSW began her entrepreneurial career in 1999 when she opened her first private practice location in Somerset County, New Jersey. Since earning her MSW in Clinical Social Work in 1993 from New York University, she gained expert knowledge through an extensive career.
In addition to owning a profitable and successful private practice, in 2000, Ms. Tsukroff developed Business Management Consulting for Mental Health Practitioners, a corporation aimed at assisting behavioral health clinicians achieve their business goals.
Ms. Tsukroff perfected her consulting business out of knowledge she gained through creating and managing her own small business, working as an Outpatient Care Manager for one of New Jersey’s largest Managed Care Companies, and from spearheading start-up programs for former employers.
Ms. Tsukroff’s commitment to core social work values is evidenced by her volunteerism to various professional mental health associations. She is the former Chairperson for The New Jersey Chapter of The National Association of Social Workers Committee on Ethical Review and throughout her career she has served on several additional committees focused on continuing education for social workers, private practitioner concerns, insurance and managed care issues and social work licensure rules and requirements.
Ms. Tsukroff has dedicated over 26 years focused on giving back to the social work community through serving on various Boards of Directors, writing articles, offering pro-bono presentations, and providing low-cost supervision and consultation to social workers throughout the tristate area.  
In February of 2018, Ms. Tsukroff accepted an invitation to join a task force charged with revising NASW’s Clinical Social Workers in Private Practice:  A Reference Guide.
Ms. Tsukroff has a passion for teaching and drawing on her clinical/ethics –related experience and expertise. She conducts engaging training workshops focusing on traditional business practices, risk management techniques, documentation and record-keeping, private practice development, billing, ethical and legal issues and clinical matters.

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, the program administrator directly @ 973-879-1678 or @ LsTsukroff@aol.com.

  • 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 2 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 LsTsukroff@aol.com.

  • Mail and E-mail registration deadline is 2 days prior to the 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. In-person only.

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

Course Completion
For those who registered on-line, by phone or via mail, certificates will be handed to social workers who attend the entire session and complete a course evaluation.

For those who register on-site, certificates will be emailed/mailed within 7 days to those social workers who attend the entire session and complete a course evaluation.