“I have been in practice for 28 years and I’ve never kept detailed notes. I just wasn’t trained that way. Are you saying my word about what happened isn’t good enough?”
Brenda replied tersely to the panel in a formal ethics hearing when requested to produce copies of her clinical notes by the chair of the committee.
Brenda is a clinical social worker specialized in the treatment of depression, anxiety, interpersonal conflict, and other mental health issues. One of Brenda’s clients had filed a formal ethics complaint against Brenda with the state board. The client alleged in her complaint that Brenda was unethical in the way she abruptly terminated services and Brenda’s “abandonment” directly caused her despair and subsequent suicide attempt. Brenda testified before the panel how the challenging clinical situation was handled professionally and ethically. Brenda shared in the hearing how she discussed issues with colleagues in her peer consultation group, telephoned a psychiatrist who specializes in the treatment of individuals who have been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, and carefully planned for the termination of services.