I provide training, CEUs, CLEs, and seminars to help professionals understand the connections (and dis-connects) between law and mental health.
Roles I have played in high conflict cases:
In the past, I have worked in many capacities relevant to high conflict cases. First as a therapist and now as an attorney, my work has included:
1) Therapist to individual parents in custody cases;
2) Therapist to families involved in court-ordered foster care;
3) Therapist to couples in high conflict;
4) Therapist to children;
5) Therapist to targets of domestic violence;
6) Therapist to male and female perpetrators of DV, both court-ordered and non-court-ordered;
7) Psychiatric researcher on Mood and Personality Disorders including Borderline, Narcissistic, and Anti-Social PD, and psychotic illness;
8) Family law attorney;
9) Family Law Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA);
10) Family Law Guardian ad litem (GAL) (trained);
11) Parenting Evaluation Training Program (PETP) graduate;
12) Reunification counselor;
13) Public speaker to professionals involved in Family Law cases and cases involving mental health issues (lawyers, counselors, Commissioners, Magistrates, and Judges);
14) Legal representation to counselors with DOH complaints.
Sample Content for Presentations and Speaking Engagements
Misery or Mastery: Recordkeeping for Mental Health Professionals
- While many providers call recordkeeping a nuisance, this presentation invites attendees to regard recordkeeping as an opportunity to create a body of evidence that truthfully and accurately represents the work that occurred in session. Attendees learn how to write notes that support clinical practice and can survive the scrutiny of a DOH investigation, trial, or other third party. This training helps professionals understand the elements of recordkeeping that can protect rather than expose the provider.
When Family Law and Counseling Collide – for mental health professionals, lawyers, Courts
- Clients, attorneys, GALs, and even courts may inadvertently place counselors at great risk when a counselor’s client is involved in litigation. This presentation helps attendees understand basic concepts relevant to family law. This training helps attendees understand these risks and how to avoid them in order to optimally serve clients, counselors, courts, and children.
Don’t Do It! How Counselors May Create Dual Roles Without Even Trying – for mental health professionals, lawyers, Courts
- Counselors need to be clear in their roles with their clients. Failure to maintain scope of practice can create role confusion, harm clients, and lead to DOH complaints. It is important for counselors as well as lawyers and courts to understand how a court order that fails to understand roles can place counselors at risk and unintentionally harm the clients with whom they work.
Working with Children and Adults Involved in Custody Battles -– for mental health professionals, lawyers, Courts
- When healthcare professionals work with children, adults, couples, and families involved in custody cases, they may face particular challenges. This presentation is designed to help attendees identify and navigate these challenges so that they do not place themselves or clients at risk. Examples of challenges occur when a family member asks a counselor to make a recommendation as to custody, parenting, or to write a letter to an attorney or the court.
What To Do If – Heaven Forbid! – You Receive a Subpoena or Have to Testify -– for healthcare professionals
- At some point in any healthcare professional’s career, s/he may be served with a subpoena to disclose records, be deposed at a deposition, or testify at trial. This presentation is designed to help professionals understand what to do – and what not to do — under such circumstances. There are laws pertaining to subpoenas particularly for healthcare professionals, as well as specifically for mental health professionals. I inform counselors of some of the do’s and dont’s so that they know whether, when, and how to disclose information and/or testify appropriately and legally — and protect their licenses.
Witness Prep for Deposition and Trial -– for healthcare professionals and lawyers
- People often need to talk, even if it is to their own detriment. This presentation is designed to help healthcare professionals and other witnesses understand how to 1) listen to the question, 2) tell the truth, and 3) stop talking. Attendees learn to maintain the integrity of their scope of practice when testifying, which isn’t always as simple as it sounds! This presentation also helps lawyers understand why their clients may overdisclose contrary to lawyer advice.
Understanding Predatory Behaviors -– for healthcare professionals, lawyers, Courts
- Predatory narcissists and sociopaths are more common than we’d like to think! They often abuse the court system as well as the therapy they access, in order to assert control over relationships and litigation. Anyone can be fooled, including the most experienced experts; but understanding the predatory behaviors can help to identify patterns in order to lower risk. This presentation addresses the dynamics of anti-social versus pro-social behaviors, including why some people unintentionally attract and engage with predators repeatedly.
Working with High Conflict Clients– for healthcare professionals, lawyers, Courts
- High conflict clients and litigants can be challenging. This presentation examines statistics on personality disorders. Attendees will learn to identify red flags characteristic of these personalities, as well as best practices for containment and communication.
Lawyers and Courts Working Effectively with Therapists – for mental health professionals, lawyers, Courts
- Therapists and other healthcare professionals are duty-bound to maintain role integrity vis-à-vis their clients. This presentation helps counselors, lawyers, and courts better understand a healthcare professional’s scope of practice when working with clients – particularly children — involved in divorces and custody battles. The goal is to preserve the therapeutic relationship so that its benefits are not sacrificed.
Self-Care for Professionals – for healthcare professionals, lawyers, Courts
- Stress management has been called an ethical issue of the 21stcentury. Poor self-care has been identified as a risk factor for Bar and Department of Health (DOH) complaints. This presentation helps attendees understand the importance of self-care to safe practice and service to clients. Attendees learn about statistical risks that a career in the professions may create for compassion and/or battle fatigue, depression, negative stress (not all stress is negative), anxiety, and substance abuse. Attendees learn the benefits of and ways to enhance self-care, positive responses to stress, and achieving concordance of values and actions.
Bullying in the Courtroom– for lawyers, Courts
- Bullying in the courtroom is rife. Many attorneys believe it is the best way to “zealously represent” their clients, Although there is evidence that courts see through this method and it serves no positive purpose, many lawyers think bullying gives them an edge to winning. This presentation addresses ways to identify bullying and respond to it in order to serve rather than corrode the judicial process. Helpful statutes and case law are provided.
Coercive Control and Domestic Violence – for healthcare professionals, lawyers, Courts
- Coercive control (CC) is a non-physical form of domestic violence that focuses on psychological domination rather than blatant assault. Often minimized, CC is not only psychologically devastating but can also cause the target of abuse to appear imbalanced, histrionic, and “alienating” rather than legitimately protective, while the perpetrator of abuse appears to be charming, calm, steady, harmless, and even helpful. This presentation addresses these issues so that lawyers, mediators, courts, and counselors are not hijacked by this elusive and often misunderstood dynamic.
Mental Health in the Courtroom -– for healthcare professionals, lawyers, Courts
- This presentation examines how litigants with mental health conditions may present in court. Attendees learn to identify ways to enhance procedural efficiency with sensitivity to vulnerable populations.
Statements and Testimonials from Attendees of Various Seminars and Courses
Mental Health Professionals
- “Thank you Frances for the very informative training last week through my agency. I think that over my 40 year career that your training was the best law and ethics training I have ever attended. (I have been to quite a few!)” – Workshop attendee, 2017
- “Excellent” – Attendee, When Family Law and Counseling Collide.
- “Frances was an amazing presenter and expert in her field. I learned so much and greatly appreciate her attention to detail and clarity and assistance navigating legal matters.” Attendee, When Family Law and Counseling Collide.
- “Course was pretty cool.” Attendee, When Family Law and Counseling Collide.
- “Excellent info, knowledgable presenter, a little scary but very valuable.” Attendee, When Family Law and Counseling Collide.
- “Offer this [class] more often! Perhaps a level II?” Attendee, When Family Law and Counseling Collide
- “Thank you Frances! Extremely knowledgable, caring, easy to listen to, kind, appreciated you as a personpresenting a difficult topic and acknowledging the feeling of anxiety! Thank you for being a wonderful trustworthy resource to therapists.”
— Attendee, When Family Law and Counseling Collide
- “Super excellent” “Frances excellent!! Knowledgable, affirming, engaging, professional, will look for her again!!”
— Attendee, When Family Law and Counseling Collide
- “Best 6 hr CEU for Ethics that I’ve ever taken. Great takeaways.” Attendee, When Family Law and Counseling Collide
- “Fantastic… so valuable!”
— Attendee, Washington Counselors Assn Conference, Working with Children and Adults Involved in Custody Battles
- “She’s worth her weight in gold!” Attendee, WCA Conf, What To Do If You — Heaven Forbid! — Get Served w/ a Subpoena
- “Outstanding!” – Attendee Record Keeping Cascadia
- “Not often we get comments like ‘cool’ and ‘awesome’ when it comes to ethics workshops.”
— Brian Andersen, Cascadia Training, Seattle, WA
- “Frances’ insights on risk management in one’s practice are – at once – practical, straight-forward, relevant, and engaging. I walked away from one of her talks with a better appreciation and awareness of the essential steps to protect my fledgling practice. Despite me not being a legal expert, I believe my exposure to her trainings have left me with a better awareness of risk management issues than a substantial portion of my colleagues – at least enough to know when it would be the time for myself or colleagues to pull the alarm and call her. I cannot recommend her enough.” — Client, PsyD, LMHCA
- “I took the Record Keeping class from Frances Schopick. The class answered so many sticky questions that have caused me stress over years of private practice. Referring back to this class constantly informs me in making good decisions in record keeping, client selection, and preemptive measures in private practice with a variety of clients. Things are more complex when working with children and families. I wish I had had this information and the confidence it gave me much sooner. The class was worth every penny! Gratefully… ” — Attendee and Client, LMHC
- “I attended the Family Law class at Cascadia and was stunned by how much I didn’t know. The class was engaging and concise and Ms. Schopick’s knowledge of our profession and what motivates us as clinicians made the content easy to understand and apply immediately. There are many risks we can’t anticipate and need to know how to navigate that can be very intimidating to new and seasoned clinicians alike. I left the class feeling much more confident and prepared about how to think through and problem solve when new things crop up, as they always do. Following the class I reached out to Ms. Schopick to help me navigate a specific case and she was so helpful and responded immediately. I am so grateful for the help she provides and I can’t recommend Ms. Schopick highly enough.” Attendee and Client, LMHC
- “Frances Schopick’ s CLE presentation went beyond being informative, relevant and engaging by going into the surprising, insightful and valuable. Many CLE presenters are informative, professional, and dull as dust. Ms. Schopick’ s presentation, however, had star quality combined with skill at infusing important and timely topics with insight and humor! Five Star!”
— David Talbert Huber, Attorney & Counselor at Law
- “I attended Fran’s presentation at the Solo and Small Practice conference mostly out of curiosity. Fran’s presentation was engaging, funny, and insightful, as I expected, but it was also relevant and useful in my practice, which I was not expecting. She had a great command of the material, and presented it in such a way that it was obvious how to apply the new knowledge in real situations. I highly recommend attending her talks!”
— Jim Haugen, Patent Attorney, Seattle Patent Group LLC