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Warning: Boundary Crossing Ahead

Warning: Boundary Crossing Ahead, Course #4857, 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​

What past participants have said about this workshop

     “Leslie made it interesting with humor, case studies and her personality” – Alexia

     “Leslie was wonderful. Very passionate and kept my attention on what is usually a dry topic” – Marcia

     “A reminder of the ethical implications one may/will face eventually in practice. Helpful to identify           

     future pitfalls and how to prevent stepping into them” – Elizabeth M.

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

        1. Identify and successfully manage challenging ethical dilemmas involving boundaries in mental health practice

        2. Implement practical strategies to strengthen boundaries in clinician/client, supervisor/supervisee, and     

            employer/employee relationships.

        3. Develop ethically-based, technology-related, policies and procedures for mental health practitioners in a variety

            of practice settings.

Course Description

Studies indicate one of the most complex and challenging tasks for mental health professionals is effective boundary management.    Despite ethics education, agency rules, and licensing regulations, boundary mismanagement remains commonplace for both the novice and seasoned practitioner.    The potential for boundary crossings and dual relationships exists in a variety of different settings, in all areas of mental health practice and in every type of relationship.   Through rich and culturally-diverse case scenarios, participants will discuss and explore the ethical standard of Conflicts of Interest with an emphasis on clinician self-disclosure, living and working in smaller communities, professional involvement with members of the same family and navigating the use of e-mail, text and social media.    Practical and effective methods for identifying, approaching, avoiding and resolving boundary-related ethical dilemmas will be highlighted.


Target Audience
This course is designed for mental health practitioners who serve as clinicians, managers, case workers, supervisors/supervisees, students, mentors and educators.


Course content Level


Program will be 5 hours of actual time
There will be two, 10 minute breaks mid-morning and mid-afternoon

Lunch will be 30 minutes on your own





Welcome/Introduction (25 minutes)

Review of top substantiated ethics complaints

Overview of Conflict of interest- questions for today’s workshop

Review of relevant standards/concepts in the NASW Code of Ethics (30 minutes)

Discussion, exploration and definitions of Conflicts of Interest, Commitment to Clients, and Dual/Multiple Relationships

Recognizing ethically problematic relationships focusing on the social worker’s: impaired judgment; ability to identify and assess for potential conflicts; responsibility to resolve conflict and protect client’s interests; obligation to outline professional responsibilities/roles 

Successful boundary management (30 minutes)

When working with couples, families and groups with attention to the potential pitfalls of changing treatment modalities, taking sides, and balancing working with both parents and minors  

BREAK- 10 minutes

Boundary crossings vs. boundary violations – clients (45 minutes)

Review of Impropriety vs. the appearance of impropriety- is there a difference? Weighing the risks

An in-depth look at boundary crossing- Is it always unethical? Is it always a conflict of interest? Is it always harmful?

Social worker self-disclosure as an acceptable therapeutic intervention – assessing the circumstances from all angles

Attending client’s life event – are all situations the same? Decision making tools and management


Boundary management with in the workplace/educational settings (30 minutes)

Dual relationships between supervisor/supervisee, educator/student, field instructor/interns

Review of the NASW Code of Ethics relevant standards

Identifying and managing relationships with a power-differential in fair, unbiased and culturally informed ways

Potential pitfalls of piercing the boundary in these types of relationships- when your desire to help may be misguided; when the situation seems too perfect, should you take a closer look?


LUNCH 30 minutes 

Boundary Violations (50 minutes)

Sexual/intimate relationships with current/former clients and/or their family members and with current/former students, interns, supervisor, research participants, and/or colleagues

The NASW COE and New Jersey Social Work Licensure Law – differing directives

Why talk about this? Consequences for the individual and the profession; current statistics; educating clients and social work colleagues

Common rebuttals: “I’m not causing harm;” “But, we’re in LOVE;”  “the rules don’t apply to us;”  “If I terminate treatment, I am no longer violating the COE” 

Other forms of boundary violations- collusion between social worker and client



Boundary Management (65 Minutes)

Identifying, managing and resolving boundary crossings

Client access to the social worker, social worker’s personal knowledge of the client, client’s personal knowledge about the social worker

In unique communities --rural, self-contained, and cultural/religious affiliations

Within the therapeutic relationship and with current/former clients and their family members

When working with families, minors and couples

Potentially avoidable boundary crossings within the social worker’s community vs. deliberate/avoidable boundary crossings

Asking yourself “the what if’s”, weighing the possibilities of an unintentional conflict of interest and inadvertently causing harm

Accepting or declining referrals when serving in 2 or more roles in your community

Managing interactions with clients/former clients in social/professional gatherings

Fact Witness vs. Expert Witness – What is the social worker’s role?

Using caution when asked to weigh in on custody, visitation and other forensic related issues

When and when not to wear two hats                                             


Ethical Decision-Making (25 minutes)

The importance of the “standard of care” and malpractice in risk management techniques

The role of education, training, supervision/consultation

Frederic Reamer’s 9 point model for ethical decision-making

Final thoughts/ Q and A

Program ends 

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:  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


Certificates will be e-mailed to all social workers 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.


How to Register



     Register and pay on-line with a credit card    

By Phone: 973-879-1678

     Register and pay with a credit card or

     Request a registration form


     Request a registration form


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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