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Preventing Medical Errors in Behavioral Health

Leo Christie, PhD

CE Credit: 2 Hours

Target Audience: Psychology CE | Counseling CE | Social Work CE | Marriage & Family Therapy CE | School Psychology CE

Learning Level: Intermediate

Course Type: Online

Course Abstract

Preventing Medical Errors in Behavioral Health is a 2-hour online continuing education (CE) course that offers strategies for avoiding medical errors in mental health practice.

This course is intended to increase clinicians’ awareness of the many types of errors that can occur within mental health practice, how such errors damage clients, and numerous ways they can be prevented. Its emphasis is on areas within mental health practice that carry the potential for "medical" errors.

Examples include improper diagnosis, breaches of privacy and confidentiality, mandatory reporting requirements, managing dangerous clients, boundary violations and sexual misconduct, the informed consent process, and clinical and cultural competency. Most errors arise from inadequate attention to the various educational, clinical, ethical, and legal resources available. This course will illustrate the kinds of “medical” errors that can occur in psychotherapy practice and will offer strategies for avoiding them.

Also included are sections on psychotherapy in the digital age, including the use of social networking platforms, the challenges of maintaining and transmitting electronic records, email, text messaging, the use of smart phones, engaging in the practice of teletherapy, and the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in practice.

* This course satisfies the medical errors requirement for license renewal of Florida mental health professionals.

Course #21-60 | 2024 | 40 pages | 15 posttest questions

Learning Objectives

1. List three ways in which clients may be harmed by receiving an improper diagnosis
2. Identify two exceptions to confidentiality and privileged communications
3. Describe two examples of situations that warrant mandatory reporting
4. Distinguish between boundary “crossings” and boundary “violations”
5. Specify three issues therapists need to consider before using social networking platforms
6. Name at least four guidelines to be observed in offering teletherapy services

Professional Development Resources is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Professional Development Resources maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Professional Development Resources is also approved by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC ACEP #5590); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB #1046, ACE Program); the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling, and Marriage and Family Therapy (#BAP346), Psychology & School Psychology (#50-1635); the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Psychology as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed psychologists (#PSY-0145), the New York State Education Department's State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed mental health counselors (#MHC-0135), licensed marriage and family therapists (#MFT-0100 - Note: New York MFTs will receive 2 continuing education credit(s) for completing this self-study course), and licensed social workers (#SW-0664); the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker, and Marriage & Family Therapist Board (#RCST100501 - Note: Ohio MFTs completing this course will receive 2 clinical continuing education credit(s)); the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs (#193); the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists (#114) and State Board of Social Worker Examiners (#5678); and is CE Broker compliant (#50-1635 - all courses are reported within two business days of completion).


This online course provides instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. The course is text-based (reading) and the CE test is open-book (you can print the test to mark your answers on it while reading the course document).

Successful completion of this course involves passing an online test (80% required, 3 chances to take) and we ask that you also complete a brief course evaluation. Click here to learn more.

Have a question? Contact us. We’re here to help!

About the Author(s)

Leo Christie, PhD, LMFT, is a Florida-licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a doctorate in Marriage and Family Therapy from Florida State University. Past President of the Florida Council on Family Relations, Dr. Christie is a past CEO of Professional Development Resources, a nonprofit corporation whose mission is to deliver continuing education credit courses to healthcare professionals throughout the United States. He has more than 20 years' experience in private practice with a specialty in child behavior disorders and as an instructor for over 500 live continuing education seminars for healthcare professionals.

: Receives a salary from Professional Development Resources, Inc.

: No relevant nonfinancial relationships exist. 

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