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Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
Dealing with Attorneys, Subpoenas and Courts: An Ethics Workshop for Mental Health Professionals

Please note Richmont’s current COVID-19 policy below. 


March 11, 2022 / 9:00 AM-12:15 PM

3 Ethics CEs Available (for Counselors, Marriage and Family Therapists, Psychologists, Social Workers)

Richmont Graduate University – Atlanta Campus (subject to change due to Covid-19) & Live Webinar 


Presented by

William Buchanan, Ph.D., ABPP

William L. Buchanan, Ph.D., ABPP is a clinical and forensic psychologist. He is Board Certified in Clinical Psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) and an AAMFT Approved Supervisor. He is also a Nationally Certified Custody Evaluator (NCCE) and a Nationally Certified Parenting Coordinator (NCPC) in the Professional Academy of Custody Experts (PACE). He currently teaches at Richmont Graduate University, where he is also a Clinical Supervisor. Dr. Buchanan has served as an expert witness and testified more than 375 times in State and Federal Courts. Since 2019, he has been an expert in four murder cases and recently spent six hours on Georgia’s death row with an inmate he had evaluated in 1999; he also testified on behalf of the inmate at the Clemency Hearing the day before the execution. Dr. Buchanan specializes in ADHD, clinical child psychology, family therapy, and comprehensive psychological, neuropsychological and forensic evaluations. He served on the Editorial Board of The American Journal of Family Therapy and co-authored The Dictionary of Family Psychology and Family Therapy. Dr. Buchanan served as consultant and supervisor to Eagle Ranch for Children for over 30 years. He served eight years as Chair of the Legal and Legislative Committee of GPA, and served three years as the GPA representative to the Georgia Board of Psychology. However, his greatest claim to fame is being married to Dr. Linda Buchanan.

Course Description:

Virtually every mental health professional will get a subpoena or a call from an attorney, but most therapists would rather have a root canal than testify in Court. The goal of this workshop is to reduce therapists’ anxiety and empower them to respond professionally and confidently. Using the Georgia and Federal law, the Ethics codes, and the Rules of the Georgia Boards, we will cover how to confidently respond to subpoenas, interact with attorneys, do’s and don’ts of Court testimony, minimize risk when doing therapy with divorcing or divorced families, and how to get paid for your time and for making copies of your file.

Learning Objectives: As a result of attending this workshop, participants will be able to:

1) Correctly and confidently respond to subpoenas.

2) Professionally and confidently interact with attorneys on the phone or in person.

3) Minimize risk when doing therapy with families with divorcing or divorced parents.

4) Get paid for consultation, testimony and making copies of the file.

Schedule of the Day:


9-10AM Definitions: Privilege, Criminal vs. Civil Court, GAL, CASA, etc.

Georgia vs. Federal Law

Important Court Cases

Exceptions to Privilege

How to Confidently Respond to Subpoenas (template provided)

10-11AM Subpoenas for Child, Couple and Family Therapy (template provided)

Common Lies in Therapy

Minimizing Risk in Child, Couple and Family Therapy with divorcing/divorced parents

11-12PM Do’s and Don’ts of Court Testimony

Getting Paid for your Time

Getting Paid for Making Copies of the file


Target audience: Counselors, Marriage & Family Therapists, Psychologists, Social Workers, Graduate Students

Instruction Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

Continuing Education: 3 Ethics CEs Available. 

Cost: Guests=$95 / Richmont Alumni, Faculty, & Staff=$70 / Richmont Students=$55



Blanchard, Matt & Farber, Barry A. (2016). Lying in psychotherapy: Why and what clients don’t tell their therapist about therapy and their relationship. Counseling Psychology Quarterly, Vol 29, Issue 1, 90-112.

Blanchard, Matt; Farber, Barry A.; & Love, Melanie. (2019). Secrets and Lies in Psychotherapy. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Committee on Legal Issues, American Psychological Association. (2016). Strategies for Private Practitioners Coping With Subpoenas or Compelled Testimony for Client/Patient Records or Test Data or Test Materials. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, Vol. 47, No. 1, 1-11.

Francis, Joshua D.; Oswald, Gina R.; & Flamez, Brande. (2018). Reducing Ethical Complaints Through Professional Counselor Competency in Court Testimony. The Family Journal, Vol 26, Issue 1, 64-72.

Greenburg, Stuart A. & Shulman,  Daniel W. (1997). Irreconcilable Conflict Between Therapeutic and Forensic Roles. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, Vol. 28, No. 1, 50-57.

Moore, Ruth. O.; Ordway, Ann; and Francis, Joshua (2013). The Tug of War Child: Counseling Children Involved in High Conflict Divorces. Vistas Online, Article 46, American Counseling Association.

National Conference of State Legislatures. (October 12, 2018). Mental Health Professionals’ Duty to Warn.

Shaffer, Alyssa (2019). The truth about lies: Almost all patients tell some lies while in therapy. But what patients keep hidden might reveal more than therapists think. Monitor on Psychology, May 2019, Vol 50, No. 5, page 38.

Silk, Josh (2017). When mental health is at issue. Verdict: The Journal of the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, 11, 21.

VanDercar, A., & Resnick, P. J. (2020, September 30). Tips for testifying in court. Psychiatric Times, 37(9), 26-27.

Warshak, Richard A. (2010). Divorce Poison New and Updated Edition: How to Protect Your Family from Bad-mouthing and Brainwashing. NY: William Morrow – Harper Collins Publishers.

Zelechoski, A. D. (2020, April 30). Perplexing problems in psychological practice: Decision science, ethics & risk management [PowerPoint slides]. Rockville, MD: The Trust Risk Management Services.


For questions, please contact Martha Busby at
Refunds: In order to receive a full refund, requests must be made prior to March 4, 2022.

There is no known commercial support for this workshop.

Richmont Graduate University has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 4534. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. RGU is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.  

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


Dealing with Attorneys, Subpoenas and Courts: An Ethics Workshop for Mental Health Professionals