One of the subjects that could be tested on your California Law and Ethics Exam is the topic of Professional Will. This is a difficult topic to broach, as it speaks to our personal vulnerabilities. As a consequence, many therapists avoid it all together. However, it is a critically important part of client care and ethically required. If you have clients, you must have a clear plan in place for them in case of planned or unplanned absences. If a professional will is not in place, client’s can suffer greatly.
Regardless of how much or how little you already know about the topic of professional will, the Therapist Development Center’s exam prep, will ensure you know everything you need to correctly answer questions on this topic.
How might this be tested on the California Law and Ethics exam?
There are several ways this topic could appear on your exam. Questions may test your knowledge of:
- When to create a professional will
- What to include in your will
- Who may access your professional will and client records
Let’s see how you do on this month’s FREE practice Law and Ethics question.
A therapist in private practice has a caseload of 10 individual clients, 2 families, and 3 couples. The therapist suffered a stroke, is abruptly unable to meet with clients and cannot communicate with them due to medical complications. Which of the following answers indicates the therapist acted in accordance with their ethical responsibilities?
- The therapist created a Professional Will when launching private practice and has provided a family member access to client records in case of emergency
- The therapist created a Professional Will when launching private practice and has arranged for bridge therapists to coordinate care with existing clients.
- They engaged in ongoing consultation groups, sharing information about clients in case of an emergency.
- They provided clients with referrals at onset of therapy to be contacted in case of emergency.
(scroll down for answer and rationale)
The correct answer is B.
Answers C and D can easily be eliminated since they do not fully address the needs of clients when the therapist is incapacitated and unable to provide support. It is important for therapists to engage in consultation groups and to provide referrals to clients; however, these steps are insufficient in meeting clients’ needs when the therapist is suddenly unavailable.
The first part of answer A is strong. It is our ethical responsibility to develop and maintain a professional will. However, the second part of this answer is incorrect. It’s possible to provide a family member with access to the professional will, but it would be illegal and unethical to allow a family member access to confidential client records.
The best answer is B. This answer includes the creation of a professional will and includes other mental health professionals in executing the will and ensuring an appropriate level of client care.
How did you do on this question? Does the correct answer and rationale align with your understanding of the professional will, or did you learn something new? If you have any additional questions, you are welcome to check in with a TDC coach. Our coaches are here to answer your questions and provide support and guidance as you prepare to PASS your California law and ethics exam with confidence!
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