Over the past few weeks I’ve been finishing up my Continuing Education Units in order to reactivate my psychotherapy license. I always dreaded CEUs and it’s been a nice surprise to be excited to dive into the material each day. I’ve taken some fascinating classes but was guessing that the mandatory Law + Ethics course would be a real bore. Law + Ethics is one of those classes you have to take every few years. So, I’ve taken it quite a few times. Yet, this time around it proved to be really thought provoking. At a time when one only needs to have an Instagram profile to claim to be an expert in anything, the following really stood out. “The ethical principle of competency is the duty to only practice in areas of expertise.” When I read this I could remember the significance placed on only practicing within your competency when I was in graduate school. There’s a good reason for this. The mind is complex. Treatment is complex. And actually knowing how to best help someone better understand themselves requires a lot more than an inspirational quote or a pretty picture. The ethical principle of competency doesn’t mean that as a clinician you should never stretch yourself and strive to learn new things, but it does mean that when someone seeks help, inspiration, advice, and treatment from a licensed clinician, the clinician works within a strict code of ethics to not practice outside of their expertise. And this is taken quite seriously. Competency is a promise to seek constant education and guidance in order to grow an area of expertise. And when something is outside of your area of expertise to acknowledge that and either seek guidance or refer the patient out. It’s important. And it should be.

What did you learn today? Join me by using the #thesethreethings and commenting below with your own These Three Things. I want to hear what you are learning, laughing about, and living through.