The field of perinatal mental health may present clinicians with unique legal and ethical dilemmas with an abundance of grey areas to traverse. Concerns about parent, infant and child safety are keenly present for providers supporting families on their reproductive journey. Additionally, ethical dilemmas may arise as clinicians navigate providing equitable care with cultural humility while meeting legal and ethical standards of licensure governing boards.

This 3-part, 3-day continuing education workshop series pairs legal and clinical voices in conversation to help us problem solve these complex and ever-evolving challenges. Topics include: promoting safe boundaries, child abuse and neglect reporting, managing high risk cases and practice risk management, and implicit bias.

Please join us for what is sure to be an informative, interactive and practice transforming series! Register for individual workshops for $40 each or all three workshops at the discounted rate of $100.

This course meets criteria for 2 CE credits each, or 6 CE credits total for LMFTs, LPCCs, LCSWs, LEPs, and psychologists through the Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) in the state of CA. Please view the conference brochure for full accreditation details.




When Criminal Justice Meets Perinatal Mental Health
Diana Barnes, PsyD, LMFT, PMH-C & George Parnham, JD

The first workshop brings expert insight from cases of perinatal psychosis and addresses legal responsibilities when working with individuals at risk for committing suicide, infanticide, or other forms of harm to self or other. In her experience as a forensic psychologist, Dr. Diana Barnes will share from her knowledge as an expert witness in a number of cases of postpartum psychosis and pregnancy denial. She and George Parnham will explore the intersection of the criminal justice system and implications when psychological conditions lead to the unthinkable.

While postpartum psychosis is rare, when it does happen, there are significant dangers including elevated risk for suicide and infanticide. This workshop will review how to recognize signs of severe distress, warning signs for psychosis and how to implement safety measures for the family. Presenters will also speak to what happens when the legal system is involved and advocacy efforts to integrate a psychological understanding within the criminal justice system.


1) Identify four symptoms of perinatal psychosis.

2) List three risk factors to child endangerment related to perinatal mental health.

3) Identify two ways clinicians may assist families in establishing safety.

4) Discuss how the legal system views mental health in the perinatal period.

Perinatal Mental Health and the Child Welfare System
Patrisha Taylor, PsyD, LMFT & Naomi Cohen, JD

The second workshop, co-facilitated by Dr. Patrisha Taylor and Naomi Cohen, will clarify for clinicians the realities of navigating the child welfare system through an understanding of the systematic process, including an emphasis on the role of the mandated reporter and the impact on the family. Though protocols vary per county, city, and state, the impact of child welfare involvement is likely to create a ripple effect from the immediate family to the larger society. Through collaboration between systems of legal and social services, cases of child abuse and neglect are explored.

As mandated reporters, clinicians are responsible for making child abuse reports when we believe there is significant risk to minors. When supporting families struggling with perinatal mental health disorders, what is our role? How do we know when to report? What happens after we make a report and what are the legal ramifications with child welfare?


1) Identify three symptoms of perinatal mental health disorders that potentially put children at highest risk for endangerment.

2) Recognize the role that mental health providers play in reporting child abuse and/or neglect.

3) Demonstrate an understanding of the steps to making and filing a child abuse report as a mandated reporter.

4) Apply two ways to support families engaged in the child welfare system.

Reimagining Ethics in a Decolonized Mental Health Ecosystem
Brietta Clark, JD & Thea Monyeé, LMFT

In this workshop, legal and clinical changemakers Brietta Clark and Thea Monyeé will hold a conversation to reflect on one step in the process of striving to co-create a decolonized world.

In healthcare, ethics and law are viewed as important tools for promoting equity, dignity, and patient autonomy. Yet, ethical and legal rules are the product of the same social, economic, political, and legal forces that have allowed structural racism, reproductive injustice, and other forms of discrimination to shape society. Indeed, such rules have often operated as dangerous weapons that disempower and subordinate the very people they claim to protect – health practitioners and patients.

To effectively address health inequity affecting perinatal mental health, we must ask several questions: Who determines the ethics, laws and systems within a society? What motivations underlie the production and deployment of rules? How do these rules impact the care relationship between practitioners and patients’ reproductive decision making? And what barriers must be overcome in order to reform rules that undermine health equity, dignity, and autonomy?


1) Identify ways that legal and ethical rules shape the professional-patient care relationship in perinatal mental health, especially in marginalized communities.

2) Identify successful strategies for promoting equity, dignity, and autonomy in health care.

3) Demonstrate empowered use of culturally rooted strategies to question and expand ethical codes and guidelines governing their current service environments.


Diana Barnes, PsyD, LMFT, PMH-C
Diana Barnes, PsyD, LMFT, PMH-C
George Parnham, JD
George Parnham, JD
Patrisha Taylor, PsyD, LMFT
Patrisha Taylor, PsyD, LMFT
Naomi R. Cohen, JD
Naomi R. Cohen, JD
Brietta Clark, JD
Brietta Clark, JD
Thea Monyeé, LMFT
Thea Monyeé, LMFT


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