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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 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 instruction, learning activities, and self-study as well as interactive discussions/activities, videos, feedback, and articles.


Every Thursday, February 16 – March 30, 2023 from 1:00 – 2:30 pm MT / 2:00 – 3:30 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 Thursday, February 16, 2023
  • Commit to 6-weeks of online training for 1.5 hours weekly from February 23 – March 30, 2023
  • Complete weekly self-study learning activities


  • Christina Boyd, LSCSW, LCAC
  • Maryellen Evers, LCSW, CAADC

THERE IS NO COST TO PARTICIPATE: The first 40 registrants will receive a Mountain Plains ATTC waiver that covers the $400 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. Registration is not transferable to another person. 

Please Note: Registrants enrolled in this series are required to attend the February 16 and February 23 sessions. If you cannot attend these sessions, you will forfeit your attendance.

In addition, it is expected that participants will have access to the appropriate technology by February 23 in order 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.

If you do not receive a welcome email February 15, please check your spam folder.

Continuing Education The series has been approved for a total of 16 contact hours (15 hours content instruction and a one-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. No credit will be awarded for non-attendance or partial attendance. 

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

QUESTIONS: please contact the MPATTC Workwise Staff at or by phone at 775-784-6265 or 866-617-2816 (toll-free).

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