WMHCA: Washington Law & Ethics of Abandonment, Termination, and Referrals

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3 Law & Ethics CEs Recorded: Winter-2022

Termination of the clinical relationship can be difficult – particularly when termination is initiated by the clinician. While most clinicians are familiar with the concept of legal liability for client abandonment, there is often confusion about the precise distinction between termination, referral, and abandonment.

In this 3 hour workshop we will examine the legal and ethical implications of termination and referral of clinical services. Specific focus will be on understanding the concept of legal abandonment in health care. Participants will gain increased ability to best support their clients while also minimizing risk and limiting exposure to liability. This course is intended to meet ethics CE requirements.


∙ Identify legal standards regarding liability for client abandonment in healthcare settings; ∙ Distinguish client abandonment from termination of clinical services; ∙ Describe the ethical standards regarding client termination and referral;


  • Sources of Law and Ethics Standards (0.25 hours)
  • Client Abandonment and Liability (0.75 hours)
  • Termination of the Clinical Relationship (1 hours)
  • Referral and Coordination of Care (1 hours)
EPDC CE Hours: 3
Presenter: Eric Strom

Eric Strom is an attorney and Licensed Mental Health Counselor. As an attorney, Eric provides legal counsel, consultation and guidance to mental health professionals. The focus of Eric’s clinical practice is providing mental health counseling services to combat veterans. Eric is currently serving as the ethics advisor for the Washington Mental Health Counselors Association.