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New Ethical Dilemmas: Developing Professional Competency in the Digital Age

New Ethical Dilemmas: Developing Professional Competency in the Digital Age (NED)

With the sudden onset of the coronavirus, the use of technology and social media by behavioral health and recovery support for personal and professional purposes has increased dramatically. As such, ethical and practice issues like self-disclosure in postings, unintentional boundary crossings and violations, privacy and security problems reflect just some of the new dilemmas clinicians and peer support specialists encounter frequently. Adding to the problem is a lack of definitive guidance from existing professional and ethical codes until recently.

This 7-week, in-depth, online learning series will address common ethical dilemmas behavioral health and peer support specialists face related to the use of technology, social networking sites, and web-based search engines. Case scenarios, PowerPoint slides, and activities will be used to highlight these dilemmas and encourage discussions among participants related to: 1) Ethics, competency, and the use of technology in the time of COVID-19; 2) Digital Novice vs. Digital Pro; 3) HIPAA and 42CRF Part II considerations for texting, email, and videoconferencing; 4) Use of social media and potential ethical pitfalls; 5) Employer/employee issue with technology ; and 6) Applying ethical decision-making models with ethical dilemmas. This online learning series will provide 15 hours of instruction, learning activities, and self-study as well as interactive discussions/activities, videos, feedback, and articles.


Every Wednesday, April 14 – May 26, 2021 from 12:00 – 1:30 pm MT / 1:00  – 2:30 pm CT


  • Name three ethical concerns related to the use of technology and social media
  • Cite at least one ethical consideration in regard to communicating with clients that has been made as a result of COVID-19
  • Understand personal preferences for communication and how this can impact working relationships with colleagues and clients
  • Name one privacy consideration regarding texting patients/peers
  • Identify one-way behavioral health providers and peer support specialists can help maintain confidentiality when emailing clients
  • Discuss two elements that behavioral health providers and peer support specialists must consider before posting content online
  • Recall three social media policy issues that may put organizations at risk if not addressed appropriately
  • Identify at least two ethical decision-making models for use in practice and support services
  • Name one reason why it is important to utilize decision-making models when faced with ethical dilemmas in practice
  • Identify how the use of technology has become a practice competence in the provision of behavioral health and peer support services
  • Process scenarios related to behavioral health practice and peer support services using ethical decision-making models
  • Identify two concerns providers must keep in mind when addressing critical online reviews


Professionals in behavioral health, substance use disorders, mental health disorders, and peer recovery support located in the Mountain Plains ATTC Region (HHS Region 8).


  • Access to appropriate technology to utilize Zoom videoconferencing platform (internet connection, webcam, laptop/tablet, speakers and microphone)
    • Attend a 1-hour online Orientation on Wednesday, April 14, 2021
  • Commit to 6-weeks of online training for 1.5 hours weekly from April 21 – May 26, 2021
  • Complete weekly self-study learning activities


  • Christina Boyd, LSCSW, LCAC
  • Gary Wareham, MA, LPC, LAC


The first 40 registrants will receive a Mountain Plains ATTC waiver that covers the $300 cost to participate. Once the 40 spots have been filled, registration will be closed. Due to limited enrollment, if you cannot commit to the full requirements, please defer this opportunity to others.


Registrants enrolled in this series are expected to attend the April 14 and April 21 sessions. In addition, it is expected that participants will have access to the appropriate technology by April 21 to fully participate and be on camera at least 90% of the time. This is not a webinar series and active participation to gain/improve skills are required.


The series has been approved for a total of 16 contact hours (15-hours content instruction and 1-hour orientation session) through the National Association for Addiction Professionals (NAADAC), International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC), and the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) ACEP No. 6492. CE credit will be awarded at the conclusion of the series for full-session participation. Make-up work will not be provided or accepted for missed sessions.

The knowledge and skills learned should be applied within the framework of any applicable Operating and/or Credentialing regulations in your State of practice.


Please contact the MPATTC Staff at or by phone at 866-617-2816 (toll-free).

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