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The Balancing Act of Dr. Melfi and Tony Soprano: Walking the Tightrope of Ethical Clinical Practice

May 10 Breakfast 8:30am-8:45am   Training 8:45am-4:00pm $159, 6 Ethics CEU's Presenter: Lisa Ferentz, LCSW-C DAPA Doubletree Hilton Hotel, 1726 Reisterstown Road Baltimore, MD 21208 United States + Google Map

In the popular HBO series “The Sopranos,” mob boss Tony Soprano suffers from depression and anxiety and seeks out psychotherapy from Dr. Melfi. What ensues is a fascinating study in their therapeutic alliance replete with deviations in the standard of care, boundary violations, breaches in confidentiality, transference and counter-transference, and other issues that test the limits of ethical practice.

Workshop Description

In this interactive workshop, participants will have the opportunity to process a variety of film clips from “The Sopranos,” exploring the ethical issues that arise, while simultaneously using the NASW Code of Ethics and COMAR rulings to assess for deviations in the standard of care. Common ethical concerns related to conflict of interest, use of self-disclosure, limit-setting, and the testing of boundaries, clinical decisions that undermine efficacy and objectivity, as well as appropriate guidelines for termination will be explored.

Learning Objectives

  • Identify common ethical concerns as they relate to boundaries, general conduct, and confidentiality.
  • Provide three examples of how counter-transference creates deviations in the standard of care as outlined by COMAR and the NASW Code of Ethics.
  • Describe at least five ways in which clients’ transferential responses test the limits of ethical practice.
  • Identify ethical guidelines for appropriate termination.



  • Common Misrepresentations of Therapy in the Media
  • Joining in a First Session
  •  The Duty to Report
  •  The Duty to Warn


  • Ethical issues and Counter-transference
  • Navigating Boundaries in the Client-Therapist Relationship
  • Addressing issues of Clinician Competence

10:30am-10:45am   BREAK


  • Reaching out to Family Members
  • Managing Gift Giving
  • Clinician Competence
  • “Falling in Love” with the Therapist and Sexual Conduct

12:00 – 1:00pm  LUNCH

1:00 – 2:30pm

  • Colluding with Secrets
  • Privacy and Confidentiality
  • Issues of Payment
  • Addressing Discrimination

2:30 – 2:40pm  BREAK

2:40 – 4:00pm

  • Individual vs. couples work
  • Addressing suicidal ideation
  • Addressing Clients’ Prejudices
  • Handling Missed appointments
  • The ethics of consultation
  • Ethics and Termination
“Every training I have attended with Lisa has been excellent.” Charles B.
“Amazing conversation and dialogue. Wonderful examples and dynamic presentation.” Kate K.
“Methodology was fantastic! I loved it! Shelbra G.