To Act or Not to Act: Ethical Challenges to Psychodynamic Treatment

~This panel focuses on advanced ethical practice for mental-health practitioners, describing enforceable standards and aspirational principles for mental-health professionals. The presentation emphasizes: (1) five general principles that are relevant to all mental-health professionals; (2) an ethical decision-making process when faced with the potential ethical, legal, clinical dilemmas; (3) those specific ethical principles in which mental-health professionals are accused within civil lawsuits, ethics, and licensing-board complaints; and (4) supervision characteristics impacting legal and ethical issues in mental-health practice.  Consultation, record-keeping, and informed consent are also discussed. 
A section of this presentation focuses on high-risk clinical situations, high-risk patients, with examples from malpractice cases filed against mental-health professionals. Another section focuses on mismanagement and courtroom processes (such as negligence that often emerge during malpractice legal cases) and standards of care. There will be a section on ethical issues faced by clinical supervisors and ethical and legal issues commonly faced within academic institutions. There will also be a discussion of HIPAA, evaluating dangerousness, and the need for professional boundaries.


Saturday, February 21, 2015 - 9:00am to 1:00pm
8:30 AM - Registration/Light Breakfast



4455 Morena Boulevard, Suite 202
San Diego, CA 92117
United States
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SDPC Members: free, Non-members $50, Students $25

Educational Objective(s)

  • Describe three of the sometimes complex ethical issues that arise in everyday clinical practice.
  • Identify those high-risk situations that most frequently lead to ethics, licensing board complaints, and civil lawsuits.
  • Outline a systematic, structured process by which ethical issues can be resolved.
  • Explain in some depth the legal processes involved in actions against mental-health professionals (e.g., judgments about negligence/gross negligence).
  • Describe the affect of a patient’s culturally or linguistically diverse background on common situations that might call for enhanced ethical judgment on the clinician’s part.

Presenter Information

~Steven F. Bucky, Ph.D., is a Distinguished Professor, Director of Professional Training, and Chair of the Ethics Committee at Alliant International University, where he has served as Chair of the Faculty Senate, Executive Director of the Addictions Institute, and the Interim Systemwide Dean at the California School of Professional Psychology at AIU. Dr. Bucky was on California Psychological Association’s Board of Directors from 1996 to 2000, on CPA’s Ethics Committee from 1990 to 1997, Chair of the annual convention from 1999-2000, and was President of CPA in 1997. He is President/Chairman of the Board of the McAlister Institute. Dr. Bucky has published more than 150 papers, presented at the American Psychological Association and the California Psychological Association, and has edited The Impact of Alcoholism. Dr. Bucky is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Silver Psi Award and the Distinguished Service Award from the California Psychological Association. Dr. Bucky is a consultant to California’s Board of Psychology, Medical Board, Board of Behavioral Sciences, and the Attorney General’s office, has consulted with the District Attorney’s office, the U.S. Attorney’s office, the City Attorney, and numerous attorneys who specialize in the defense of mental-health professionals. Dr. Bucky is also a consultant to the NFL, the San Diego Chargers, and the Athletic Department at San Diego State University. He currently serves as the Team Psychologist to the San Diego Padres.

Joanne Callan, Ph.D., is a Distinguished Professor in the California School of Professional Psychology – San Diego of Alliant International University. She is a Training and Supervising Analyst at the San Diego Psychoanalytic Center, and she is also a Clinical Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego. She is a Diplomate in Clinical Psychology of the American Board of Professional Psychology and a Fellow in the American Psychology Association and in the San Diego Psychological Association. Her scholarly work focuses on lifespan development as informed by attachment and object-relations theories, professional ethics, professional education and training, and gender development

David Leatherberry is a partner in Gordon & Rees’s San Diego office.  As a member of the Health Care and Environmental/Toxic Tort Groups, his practice focuses on civil litigation defense and the representation of licensed health care professionals before various California state licensing boards.  Mr. Leatherberry represents manufacturers in nationwide diacetyl litigation  He also represents numerous health care providers including acute care hospitals, long-term care and behavioral health facilities, adult residential facilities, and individual practitioners. Prior to joining Gordon & Rees, Mr. Leatherberry worked extensively with psychiatric acute care hospitals, long- term care, and residential care facilities through his work with the legal clinics of the University of San Diego School of Law. 


Sylvie Shuttleworth received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology in San Diego. She has served as a therapist at San Diego State University, University of San Diego, and also the Preuss School at the University of California San Diego campus. She has worked with autistic children and their families in a home-based intervention program, in an inpatient setting for adults in psychiatric crisis, and at a specialized school setting for children and adolescents with social and emotional struggles. Dr. Shuttleworth is an adjunct professor teaching college level course work within the psychology discipline. She has done research and published in the area of attachment style, coping strategies, healthy relationships, ethical and legal issues, motivational interviewing, and the supervisory experience. Dr. Shuttleworth also has a private practice in the La Jolla area.