Risk Management Training Curriculum


Risk Management Training Curriculum for Educators

As an educator, your students depend on you to provide the right guidance to prepare them for their future careers as psychologists. That’s a lot of weight on your shoulders. And you need to have the best, most up-to-date resources at your disposal to accomplish this mission.

While your students are likely receiving excellent ethics training in the classroom, research performed by The Trust’s Student & Early Career Psychologist (SECP) Committee showed that graduate students and ECPs get very little exposure, if any, to developing risk management skills.

The Trust would like to fill in this knowledge gap with our 7-part Risk Management Training Curriculum. Developed by our risk management team, many of whom are educators, it’s designed to complement what you’re already teaching.

Normally priced at $210, these seven modules are being provided free of charge to every educator to incorporate into their own curriculums. Why? It’s simple. The more educated future psychologists are in managing their risk, the less likelihood there will be of a lawsuit or licensing board complaint, which could wreak havoc on one’s career and financial stability.

The Trust feels very strongly that knowledge is power, and this program covers a wide range of important considerations and practice know-how to ensure your students begin their careers on solid footing.

Module Descriptions & Objectives

SECP Training Modules

Module 1: Transitioning from Student to Clinician 

In this module, we focus on your transition out of graduate school and internship training and into professional clinical practice. We highlight common fears and concerns for early career psychologists and provide concrete, practical considerations and guidance for your next steps.

Objectives:

  1. Describe common fears and issues that arise for new clinicians.
  2. Summarize several strategies for mentally preparing for the transition from student to early career professional (ECP).
  3. Identify several practical considerations and strategies when pursuing employment opportunities.

Module 2: Managing Risk as a New Clinician

In this module, we introduce you to the concept of risk management and how it differs from basic psychology ethics. We give you a crash course in risk management by walking you through our top three risk management strategies for all areas of psychological practice. This module provides a foundation for the rest of the modules in this program.

Objectives:

  1. Summarize the basic elements of good risk management in psychological practice.
  2. Describe several critical components of a comprehensive informed consent process.
  3. Summarize the primary purpose of maintaining clinical records.
  4. Identify several high-risk situations that may require consultation.

Module 3: Managing Relationships

In this module, we discuss the various complexities and dimensions of our relationships with clients. This includes interactions with clients before, during, and after the professional relationship, in-person and online, and how to navigate your own feelings about your clients.

Objectives:

  1. Distinguish between boundary crossing and boundary violations.
  2. Identify several common multiple relationship scenarios.
  3. Recognize high risk client and challenging client populations.
  4. List four steps for appropriate clinical termination.

Module 4: Dealing with the Law

In this module, we provide an overview of important legal concepts, terms, and processes that frequently involve psychologists. We explain the differences between various types of legal requests for client information and provide several decision-making roadmaps for minimizing one’s risk when responding to these requests.

Objectives:

  1. Distinguish between different types of legal requests for information.
  2. List steps to be taken immediately upon receiving a subpoena.
  3. Describe several strategies to reduce risk when providing testimony.
  4. Identify three considerations when asked to write a letter on a client’s behalf for a legal purpose.

Module 5: Supervision and Connection

In this module, we delve into the complexities and necessary elements for nurturing a positive and productive supervisory relationship. We identify potential risks for both supervisor and supervisee and explain the importance of creating a supervision agreement in order to mitigate those risks. We also highlight the importance of connection in various ways throughout one’s psychology career, including through consultation.

Objectives:

  1. Distinguish between supervision and consultation.
  2. Describe several domains of supervisor competence.
  3. List three risks for supervisors when taking on a supervisee.
  4. Identify necessary elements of informed consent between a client and supervisee.
  5. Recognize potential risks of practicing in an isolated manner.

Module 6: Protect and Defend

In this module, we consider various developmental stages of your psychology career, focusing on getting licensed, staying licensed, and defending against potential complaints or lawsuits. We highlight various domains of competence and review steps to take with an impaired or unethical colleague. We also review licensing board complaint and malpractice lawsuit processes in depth. Finally, we emphasize the importance of self-care as a risk management strategy.

Objectives:

  1. Identify three questions to consider prior to seeking licensure.
  2. Compare and contrast licensing board complaints versus malpractice lawsuits.
  3. List three things to do and three things not to do when you receive notice of a licensing board complaint.
  4. Identify several common causes of impairment and/or unethical behavior by colleagues.
  5. Explain the importance of self-care as a risk management strategy.

Module 7: Becoming a Part of The Trust Community

In this module, we provide an overview of the many resources available for psychology students and ECPs when you become a Trust policyholder. We explain the differences between policy coverage options, as well as highlight the importance of individual coverage at different stages of your psychology career. In addition, we review some of the specific products and tools developed by the Trust SECP Advisory Committee.

Objectives:

  1. Describe the importance of professional liability coverage for students and ECPs.
  2. Distinguish between policy options.
  3. Identify several Trust online resources designed specifically for students and ECPs.
  4. List several ways to be prepared for an Advocate 800 consultation call.

Bonus Resource!

Every educator that incorporates our Risk Management Training Curriculum into their classroom will also receive a hardcopy of The Trust’s Assessing and Managing Risk in Psychological Practice (a $140 value!). It’s another valuable tool to have in your risk management teaching arsenal.

About the Instructor

Amanda Zelechoski, Ph.D., J.D., ABPP

Lisa Cromer, Ph.D.

Dr. Amanda Zelechoski is a licensed clinical and forensic psychologist and attorney, specializing in trauma. She is board certified in Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology and has worked clinically with adults, children, and families. Currently, she is a Professor of Psychology and Director of Clinical Training at Purdue University Northwest. She is also co-founder of the nonprofit organization and free digital resource platform, Pandemic Parenting. Dr. Zelechoski was a Risk Management Consultant for The Trust from 2016-2020.