Ethics: Spiritual Issues in Clinical Practice

There are a number of ethical questions that arise out of the incorporation of spirituality into a clinical practice. This program is a series of four interviews that focus on such questions as informed consent, self disclosure, practice competence and training, documentation, dual relationships, boundary violations, client self determination, undue influence, whether and how spiritual/religious issues should be addressed in therapy, and potential malpractice claims when ethical standards are violated.

Target audience:  Psychologists, mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists, social workers, addiction counselors, nurses

This CE course is designated as intermediate to advanced.

You can access the audio to these interviews via your computer's MP3 player and/or read the text of the interviews.

Learning Objectives

Upon completing this program, participants should be able to

  • Address ethical issues related to spirituality in clinical practice.
  • Discuss the difference between rule ethics and virtue ethics.
  • Describe the importance of training and competence when using spirituality.
  • Evaluate their own spiritual and ethical beliefs as they relate to practice.
  • Print Version / Test Preview
  • Part 1: Handling Ethical Issues
  • Part 2: Ethics Codes and Violations
  • Part 3: Spiritually Sensitive Practice
  • Part 4: Ethics, Education, and Character
  • Part 5: Ethics Codes, Laws, and Regulations
  • Part 6: Audio Version of Interviews
  • CE Test
  • Evaluation

Subject Matter Experts:

Terry Northcut, PhD, is the Director of Doctoral Programs at Loyola University School of Social Work in Chicago, Illinois, where she is also an associate professor. She received her MSSW at the University of Tennessee and her PhD at the Smith College School for Social Work. Dr. Northcut is the co-editor with Dr. Nina Heller of the book, Enhancing Psychodynamic Therapy with Cognitive Behavior Techniques. Her writing and research has lead her to publish and teach in the areas of integrating theory and practice, post modernism, the development of clinical social workers, and religion and spirituality in psychotherapy.

Frederic G. Reamer, PhD, is a professor in the graduate program of the School of Social Work, Rhode Island College, where he has been on the faculty since 1983. Dr. Reamer has conducted extensive research on professional ethics and has been involved in several national research projects sponsored by the Hastings Center, The Carnegie Corporation, and the Haas Foundation. He has lectured extensively nationally and internationally on the subject of professional ethics and professional malpractice and liability. He chaired the national task force that drafted the Code of Ethics adopted by the National Association of Social Workers in 1996. He is the author or editor of many books and articles on ethics, including Social Work Values and Ethics and AIDS and Ethics, and he has authored chapters on professional ethics in the Encyclopedia of Bioethics and the Encyclopedia of Applied Ethics.

In addition, he has been an essayist on National Public Radio's Morning Edition ("This I Believe" series) and a commentator on National Public Radio's All Things Considered. In 2007 Dr. Reamer was appointed producer of the National Public Radio weekly series, This I Believe—Rhode Island, sponsored by NPR and radio station WRNI.

Edward Canda, PhD, is Professor and Chair of the PhD program at the University of Kansas, School of Social Welfare. Founder of the Society for Spirituality in Social Work, he has written widely on this topic and is co-author of Spiritual Diversity in Social Work Practice: The Heart of Helping. This book integrates existentialist, transpersonal and holistic systems theories with Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Islamic, Judaic, and shamanistic traditions of helping, plus ethical guidelines and practical skills and techniques. While Dr. Canda’s work is directed toward social workers, the principles are universal for all mental health professionals.

Dennis Haynes, PhD, is an associate professor and program director of the master’s level graduate in the School of Social Work at the University of Texas-Austin. He is a prolific writer and speaker, especially and most recently on the subject of ethical guidelines for incorporating religion and spirituality into social work practice. He received the Texas Excellence Teaching Award from the University of Texas-Austin, School of Social Work, for the years 2002 and 2003.


Barbara Alexander, LCSW, BCD, is a graduate of the Smith College School for Social Work and the Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy Program of the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis. After working for 13 years in child psychiatric settings and 30 years in private practice, she is now founder and president of On Good Authority, and an expert interviewer.

APA approved, Yo! At Health is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. At Health maintains responsibility for the program and its content.

At Health is an approved provider of the California Board of Behavior Sciences (PCE 3319). These courses meet the qualifications for continuing education credit for MFTs, LPCCs, LEPs, and/or LCSWs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences.

At Health is a provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing (CA BRN), Provider # CEP 15512.

California Licensed Vocational Nurses and California Psychiatric Technicians can take online courses by California Board of Registered Nursing (CA BRN) approved providers, such as At Health, to fulfill their CE requirements.

NBCC approved, Yo! At Health, Inc. has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6719. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified.  At Health, Inc. is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.

Programs are available for continuing education credit for social workers through the co-sponsorship of At Health, Inc., and Amedco, LLC.  Amedco, #1346, is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB), through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Amedco maintains responsibility for the program. ASWB Approval Period: 6/24/2016 to 6/24/2019. Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval for continuing education credits. The following recognize the ASWB program: AB, AK, AL, AR, AZ, BC, CA, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KY, LA, MA, MD, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NH, NM, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, VI, VT, WA, WI, and WY.  Participants must pass a posttest with a score of 80% or higher and complete an attendance/evaluation form in order to receive a certificate of completion/attendance. is an approved provider of the Texas State Board of Examiners of Marriage and Family Therapists, provider #908.

These programs meet the criteria of an approved continuing education program for social work in Arkansas.

These programs meet the criteria of an approved continuing education program for social workers, professional counselors, marriage and family therapists, master's level psychologists, licensed clinical psychotherapists, and alcohol and other drug abuse counselors in Kansas.

These programs meet the criteria of an approved continuing education program for mental health practice and for social work in Nebraska.

These programs meet the criteria of an approved continuing education program for psychologists, pastoral psychotherapists, clinical social workers, clinical mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists, and alcohol and drug abuse counselors in New Hampshire.

These programs meet the criteria of an approved continuing education program for social workers, professional counselors, marital and family therapists, and clinical pastoral therapists in Tennessee. is approved as a continuing education provider by the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC) Provider #148460.

The above CE sponsorships are honored by many additional state boards of social work, marriage and family therapy, and licensed professional counseling. Some restrictions may apply. Check with your state board or certifying organization to find out if online courses or home study are accepted as part of your continuing education requirement for license renewal or re-certification, or call At Health at 888-284-3258 for information regarding CE approvals.

Page last modified on July 27, 2016

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Type: Text and Audio    Credits: 3 CE    Price: $45   Refund Policy
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