Ethics & Social Consequence: Do We Have a Duty to Warn?

  • 14 Oct 2017
  • 9:00 AM - 1:30 PM
  • Swarthmore Friends Meeting House - 12 Whittier Pl., Swarthmore, PA

Ethics & Social Consequence: Do We Have a Duty to Warn?

Registration NOT Available through the PSPP website.  Please register through EventBrite at:


The past two years have been filled with anger, conflict, and stark political splits in the Culture. That these trickle down into the consultation room is doubtless.

You are invited to a series of panels and discussions on the challenging roles and responsibilities of mental health professionals in the current political climate.  Panels will look at the potential dilemma between a clinician’s Duty to Warn (as mandated by the Tarasoff ruling) and the Goldwater Rule, which limits clinical discussion of public figures.

What this is not.  This meeting is not a partisan rally and moderators will be charged to maintain a collegial atmosphere of sharing and mutual exploration.

CE Credits will be available (via PSPP for Psychologists, Social Workers, Licensed Professional Counselors, and Marriage and Family Therapists). Boxed lunches will be available for $15, and donations are welcome to cover costs.  This event is open to the public and is free, but a RSVP is required.  To RSVP, donate, or buy a lunch, search: Duty to Warn Swarthmore. The day will feature:

Do mental health professionals have a Duty to Warn? Let's talk about it...

Fred Redekop, PhD, Professor, Kutztown University

In this paper, Dr. Redekop discusses the question of whether mental health professionals should offer their services in the national dialogue surrounding the president’s mental fitness for office. He suggests that Duty to Warn (DTW) is a poor fit for the present national crisis and that the Goldwater Rule unhelpfully constrains progress on this present topic. The debate inspired by DTW, however, is a crucial first step in starting a national dialogue on the question of mental health assessment of the nation’s top elected official.

Fred Redekop, Ph.D., is a counselor and counselor educator. He has worked as an outpatient clinician, in-home family counselor, residential program director, and clinic director. He is the author of Psychoanalytic Approaches for Counselors and the recent journal article, “From the couch to the chair: Applying psychoanalytic theory and practice in counseling.” 

Politics' Intrusion into My Profession

Bandy X. Lee, MD, MDiv, Yale, Department of Psychiatry

Precis: I do not see myself as entering politics with my psychiatric training.  Politics have intruded into my domain and thrust me into the public sphere, for no one imagined that such levels of mental impairment could be occupying the highest office of the land.  My being a violence scholar has compelled me to warn and to help protect the public if I am to retain any professional integrity, and my being a physician has made it only subsequent that I speak out about policies that go as far as making it impossible to practice my profession.  I will discuss how I have come to organize the conference at Yale and to compile the opinions of 27 mental health experts.

Bandy X. Lee, M.D., M.Div., is a psychiatrist on the faculty of the Law and Psychiatry Division of Yale School of Medicine.  For 17 years, she served as Director of Research for the Center for the Study of Violence (Harvard, U. Penn., N.Y.U., and Yale).  She co-founded Yale’s Violence and Health Study Group and leads an academic collaborators group for the World Health Organization’s Violence Prevention Alliance.  She has consulted with governments to set up violence prevention programs internationally and within the U.S., as well as helped to initiate reforms at New York City’s Rikers Island Correctional Center.  She teaches students representing asylum seekers and studying to be public defenders at Yale Law School, as well as a Global Health Studies course, “Violence: Causes and Cures.” She has published more than 100 peer-reviewed articles and chapters, edited eleven academic books, authored the textbookViolence (Wiley-Blackwell), and most recently edited The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump.

The Ambivalent Canary: When the Therapist Fears Engaging Politically

Howard H. Covitz, PhD, ABPP, NCPsyA, Psychoanalyst, Private Practice

A critical examination of the unavoidable clinical need to balance regulations surrounding confidentiality with the duty to warn and protect. In the recent discussions of therapists entering the world of the political in discussing the fitness for duty of leaders, oftentime proponents of each view have restricted their analyses to those supporting one side, only. A suggestion is proffered for viewing both Goldwater Rules and Tarasoff ones as virtues that do at times require a choice.

Howard Covitz, PhD, ABPP, NCPsyA is a late middle-aged psychoanalyst and Clinical Psychologist. For many years he was Director and on the Training Faculty of The Psychoanalytic Studies Institute (PSI/IPP) in Philadelphia. His 1998/2016 Oedipal Paradigms in Collision was nominated for the Gradiva Psychoanalytic Book of the Year. His political activism arises from his roles as Father, Grandfather, Citizen and Therapist.

A Jungian View of Trump and America’s Shadow

Alden Josey, PhD, Jungian Analyst, Private Practice

The controversy of entering the political will be discussed from a Jungian perspective.

Alden Josey, PhD After a career of 27 years in the DuPont Company in research and research management in organic chemistry, and with 23 published technical papers and 7 patents, Alden Josey retired in 1985 and entered the C.G. Jung Institute for Analytical Psychology in Zürich, as a Training Candidate in clinical Jungian Psychoanalysis. He graduated as Diplomate in Analytical Psychology and returned to the U.S. in 1990. Since setting up a private practice in Wilmington, Delaware, in that year, he has continued to practice, to teach in Jungian Institutes in Philadelphia and New York and to lecture widely in this country and abroad to a variety of audiences.

With discussant panel: Moderator Dan Livney, PsyD, Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist:

- Farrell Silverberg, PhD, Psychoanalyst, Pres. IFPE & Private Practice

- Frank Malone, PhD, Psychoanalyst &Private Practice

- Aaron Bender, PhD, Psychohistorian, Psychoanalyst

- And Invited Political Commentators

A Short Video of clips from interviews with MH Professionals and a Book Signing of The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump will be held at lunch.


1. Describe the Duty to Warn requirements as they apply to mental health practice, including when it is required for the clinician to act and identify the ethical, confidentiality, and legal implications of such scenarios.

2. Analyze the Goldwater Rule and consider in what instances it can conflict with the Duty to Warn requirements, and describe the ethical, confidentiality, legal, and political implications that might then arise.

3. Identify the professional, legal, ethical, and professional “role” issues that can arise when patients bring politics into the consulting room, and consider how to work in a clinically appropriate manner for such clients, including when a national crisis infiltrates clients' session content.

4. Discuss the legal and ethical issues (both practice-related and professional implications and consequences) related to a therapist’s decision to bring psychological and diagnostic opinions into the social and political landscapes, and discuss the arguments for whether that is part of our Duty to Warn the public or not.


Fee: By Donation

Bagged Luncheon by Reservation: $15


Location: Swarthmore Friends Meeting House, 12 Whittier Pl., Swarthmore, PA


Freedman, A.M. (1979). Threats to Confidentiality. J. Amer. Acad. Psychoanal., 7(1):1-5. 

Gunsberg, L. (2009). Living and Working in Two Worlds: The Psychoanalyst in the Office, and the Psychoanalyst as Forensic Expert in the Courtroom. Psychoanal. Inq., 29(6):442-464. 

 Gunsberg, L. (2009). Living and Working in Two Worlds: The Psychoanalyst in the Office, and the Psychoanalyst as Forensic Expert in the Courtroom. Psychoanal. Inq., 29(6):442-464. 

Kaley, H. (1997). The Vicissitudes Of Privilege: A review of The New Informants: The Betrayal of Confidentiality in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy by Christopher Bollas and David Sundelson. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson, 1995. xiii + 204 pp.. Contemp. Psychoanal., 33:161-165. 

Levin, C. (2000). The Siege of Psychotherapeutic Space: Psychoanalysis in the Age of Transparency. Canadian J. Psychoanal., 9(2):187-215. 

Saks, E.R. (2016). Confidentiality and Its Discontents: Dilemmas of Privacy in Psychotherapy.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 64(5):1081-1088.


Division 39 is approved by the American Psychological  Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Division 39 maintains responsibility for the program and its content. 

PSYCHOLOGISTS: This program, when attended in its entirety, is offered for 4 (CEUs) continuing education credits in ETHICS. Participants must attend 100% of the program. Upon completion of a conference evaluation form, a certificate will be issued. This serves as documentation of attendance for all participants.  Psychologists will have their participation registered through Division 39. Division 39 is approved by the American Psychological  Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Division 39 maintains responsibility for the program and its content. 

SOCIAL WORKERS AND OTHER MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS: Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists, and Professional Counselors in PA can receive CEs from CE providers approved by the APA. Since Div 39 is approved by the APA to sponsor continuing education, those professionals will be able to fulfill their continuing education requirements by attending PSPP/Div 39 approved programs.


PSPP and Division 39 are committed to accessibility and non-discrimination in continuing education activities and strive to conduct all activities in strict conformity with the American Psychological Association’s Ethical Principles for Psychologists. Participants are asked to be aware of the need for privacy and confidentiality throughout the program. If program content becomes stressful, participants are encouraged to process these feelings during discussion periods. If participants have special needs, we will attempt to accommodate them.  

Division 39 is committed to accessibility and non-discrimination in its continuing education activities. Please address questions, concerns and any complaints to Kelly Bassett, M.Ed at or 646-510-1593.

 There is no commercial support for this program nor are there any relationships between the CE Sponsor, presenting organization, presenter, program content, research, grants, or other funding that could reasonably be construed as conflicts of interest. Participants will be informed of the utility/validity of the content/approach discussed (including the basis for the statements about validity/utility), as well as the limitations of the approach and most common (and severe) risks, if any, associated with the program’s content.

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