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Minors, Consent to Psychotherapy, and High Conflict Parents: Parsing Ethics, Clinical Needs, and California Law



Workshop Description

The usual assumption under constitutional law and California statutory law is that parents hold the power to consent or withhold consent for psychological treatment for their minor children, and that they further have access to minors‘ treatment records. Most California clinicians who treat teens are aware of the exceptions to this general rule. But due in part to legislative attempts to address the needs of LGBTQ adolescents that have heretofore gone largely ignored, shifts over the last five years have in some ways simplified, and in others, muddled the bases for determining when minors can consent to services and when they cannot. These changes may have also obfuscated when parental rights to record access can be blocked. And when a parent initially consents, it is unclear as to whether the minors can later assert their own desires to consent to treatment on their own, and whether teens' needs for confidentiality can take precedence over parent’s rights to access health information. This presentation will explore and clarify the implications of California law as it relates to minors, and address the ethical and clinical implications of those laws. Functional approaches to these complex cases will also be described.


  • Identify the underlying legal and clinical tension between parents’ rights and obligations to make healthcare decisions for minor children, and countervailing, compelling state interests.
  • Describe two underlying assumptions in regards to confidentiality of services when parent’s consent.
  • Be prepared to use a relevant method of approaching complex parent consent and privacy concerns with parents and adolescents in high conflict families.

Continuing Education Credits

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

You are required to achieve a passing score of 75 percent or higher. You are allowed three attempts to successfully complete the exam. If you are unsuccessful on the third attempt, you must re-purchase the course to try again.

Continuing Education Grievance Policy

The Trust is fully committed to conducting all activities in strict conformance with the American Psychological Association's Ethical Principles of Psychologists. The Trust will comply with all legal and ethical guidelines for non-discrimination in promotional activities, program content, and in the treatment of CE participants. The Trust CE Director is responsible for complying with these standards.

While the Trust strives to assure fair treatment for all participants and to anticipate problems before they occur, occasionally grievances may be filed. In cases where a participant files a written or oral grievance, the following actions are taken:

  • If the grievance concerns the content of the workshop, webinar, book, or the continuing education test, a Trust representative will mediate and will be the final arbitrator. If the participant requests action, the CE Director or a Trust representative will either provide a credit for a subsequent CE offering or provide a partial or full refund of the CE fee already paid.
  • Actions involving a credit or a refund will require a written note documenting the grievance for record-keeping purposes. The aggrieved individual need not sign the note. If the grievance specifically concerns The Trust, the CE Director, or Trust representative will attempt to arbitrate.

Direct correspondence to:

Continuing Education
The Trust
111 Rockville Pike, Suite 700
Rockville, MD 20850
Phone: (800) 477-1200


Continuing Education

2.0 CE
Production Date:


Price: $0.00