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High Risk Clients: Effectively Handle Five of the Most Critical Scenarios You’ll Face as a Clinician

  • Recognize signs of suicide risk and effectively intervene
  • What ALL clinicians need to know about substance use disorders
  • The traumatized client: How to help without hurting
  • Tactics that help you respond to violent clients
  • Strategies to manage liability risk and protect your license

Join Paul Brasler, LCSW, as he navigates you through five of the most difficult scenarios in mental health today. Through real-life examples and live role plays, Paul will share the concrete strategies that he’s used over the last two decades to safely and effectively intervene in the challenging, urgent, and sometimes alarming situations that mental health professionals face. Full of practical tools and tips, this seminar will teach you to how to make crises situations more manageable, overcome your worries, and improve your readiness to handle mental health emergencies related to suicide, violence, substance abuse, trauma, and medical issues. Better still, instruction on professional liability management techniques, tips for documentation, and detailed reproducible assessment forms will have you feeling confident that you can focus on doing what’s best for your clients without fear of litigation. And, Paul’s guidance is applicable to your work regardless of your setting or clinical background.

Leave this seminar equipped to help your most vulnerable clients with the real-life skills and knowledge they don’t teach in graduate school!

Crises are never scheduled, convenient or easy. But they do happen and you will face them. Clients at risk for crisis often present with so many symptoms and issues, it’s hard to know where to start. Many clinicians, anxious about how to proceed, often miss or avoid asking the right questions to effectively intervene and keep clients (and themselves) safe.

As a clinician, have you ever felt:

Worried about the safety of your clients, even feared for their lives, but felt unprepared to handle the situation? Unsafe in the clinical environment, or unsure of how to handle situations where someone connected to your client might be in danger? Caught off guard when you’re wrapping up a session and a client discloses suicidal thoughts? Unsure if a client was using drugs, and ill equipped to identify the signs and symptoms of drug abuse? Concerned that you’re doing more harm than good for traumatized clients, despite your best intentions?


Product Details
Average Rating:
Paul Brasler
6 Hours 14 Minutes
Audio and Video
18 Apr, 2018
Product Code:
Media Type:
Digital Recordings



This online program is worth 6.25 hours CPD.



Paul Brasler Related seminars and products: 2


Paul Brasler, MA, MSW, LCSW, has worked in the social work field for the past 22 years. His work experience includes adolescent residential treatment, inpatient and outpatient substance abuse treatment, experiential group process, being a mental health provider on a hostage negotiation team, drug court senior clinician, private practice with individuals and families, and crisis interventions.

For the past seven years, Paul has worked in five emergency departments in the greater Richmond, Virginia area conducting psychiatric assessments of patients in crisis. Paul helps the most vulnerable population in his community, and he enjoys the intersection of mental health, substance abuse and medicine. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Graduate School of Social Work, Paul returned to his alma mater to teach in 2012.

While he readily acknowledges the need for coherent and meanstested theories to support practice, he ultimately values the live experience of putting strategies into practical use. Seminar attendees consistently note that they like how he uses “real life” examples in his presentation.

Speaker Disclosures:

Financial: Paul Brasler is in private practice. He receives a speaking honorarium from PESI, Inc.

Non-financial: Paul Brasler has no relevant non-financial relationship to disclose. 

Additional Info

Program Information

Access for Self-Study (Non-Interactive)

Access never expires for this product.


  1. Complete a comprehensive mental health assessment that encompasses a multitude of clinical concerns including mental status, lethality, substance abuse and trauma.
  2. Identify signs of and risk factors for suicidal ideation in clients and effectively respond in order to ensure the safety of the client.
  3. Recognize indicators of substance intoxication, withdrawal and overdose in clients and establish protocol for responding appropriately.
  4. Assess for risk of violence in a clinical setting and develop skills to effectively and safely intervene during an acute crisis.
  5. Examine ways in which client responses to trauma are often misdiagnosed as mental health disorders and consider the clinical implications of this.
  6. Create accurate and comprehensive documentation of clinical crises to protect all.


  • Client Assessment: Ask the Right Questions
    • Conduct comprehensive assessments
      • Mini mental status exam
      • Lethality assessment: Suicide and homicide
      • Substance use assessment
      • Trauma assessment
    • Tips and strategies for eliciting the right information
  • The Suicidal Client: More than 13 Reasons Why
    • High-risk populations—who is most at risk?
    • Implicit and explicit expressions of suicidal ideation and intent
    • Self-injurious behavior and suicidal ideation
    • Suicide assessment and interviews: Ideation, plans, means, intent
    • What do I do now? —Disposition & safety planning
      • Why “No-Harm Contracts” are harmful
      • Breaking client confidentiality
      • When in doubt, do what?
    • Hospitalization process
    • After the ER: When clients are not admitted
    • Case studies:
      • Michelle—Teenagers experiencing suicidal ideation
      • William—The intersection of substance use, mental illness and suicidality
  • The Violent Client: Manage Dangerous Situations
    • Dealing with our fears: Clinicians’ safety concerns
    • When the clinician is the target
    • When others are the target
    • De-escalation techniques
    • Preventative planning
      • Office layout
      • Keeping good boundaries
      • Police involvement before a crisis
    • Safety planning
    • When to call 911
    • Hospitalization process
    • Duty to warn
    • Case studies:
      • George—Handle a violent client
      • Dale—Practice Duty to Warn
  • The Addicted Client: What ALL Clinicians Need to Know
    • How misdiagnosis harms clients
    • Signs of intoxication
    • Imminent risk: Signs and symptoms of overdose
    • Identify withdrawal syndromes
    • Accurate diagnosis and treatment matching
    • Drug basics that clinicians should know:
      • Opioids and the opioid crisis (heroin, fentanyl and emerging drugs)
      • Stimulants (cocaine, “bath salts,” methamphetamine)
      • Cannabinoids (“shatter,” spice)
      • Other chemicals (DXM, “Special K,” Ayahuasca)
    • When and how to refer to a higher level of care
    • Case studies:
      • Percy—Opioid crisis in the waiting room
      • Cathy—Bipolar Disorder? Think again
  • The Traumatized Client: Help Without Hurting
    • Recognize trauma in clients
    • The risk of misdiagnosis
    • Dangers of improper treatment
    • Strategies for trauma-informed care
      • First and foremost: Safety inside and outside the clinic
      • The role of mindfulness
      • Go slow…but go
    • Understand Levels of Safety
    • Triune Brain Model and trauma
    • Bereavement: Not always trauma
    • The intersection of trauma, mental health, substance abuse and medical problems
    • Case studies:
      • Brian—Trauma missed
      • Mick—“How deep can I bury this?”
  • Medical vs. Psychiatric Problems: Limiting Harm
    • “What Could Kill the Patient First?”
    • Collaborative care with primary physician
    • Medical emergencies that present with psychological symptoms
    • Signs and symptoms: Limit client harm by recognizing a medical emergency
      • Medication-Related Disorders
      • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
      • Neurocognitive Disorders
      • Other Neurological Illnesses
    • Case studies:
      • Steven and the Zombies—Organic disorders
      • “Granny has schizophrenia!”
  • High Risk Clinicians: After the Crisis
    • Protect your license and manage liability
    • Documentation: What you need to know
    • Debriefing and supervision
    • Vicarious trauma
    • Addressing compassion fatigue
    • Case study:
      • Dave and me
  • Limitations and Potential Risks

    • Limited controlled studies
    • Seek supervision when necessary
    • Weigh out risk of intervening versus not intervening

Target Audience

Counselors, Social Workers, Psychologists, Case Managers, Addiction Counselors, Marriage & Family Therapists, Nurses, Nurse Practitioners, and other Mental Health Providers



Overall:      4.6

Total Reviews: 417


Sharon M - Alexandria, Virginia

"Excellent seminar"

Lyn D - ROANOKE, Virginia

"Best seminar I've attended in eons!"

Belinda G

"Excellent presentation!!! Please have Paul do another CEU class on drugs. Please have many more CEUs via webcasts. I live 2 hrs to the closest cities & they are very helpful. "

Mary S - Fallston, Maryland

"This webinar was, by far, the best CEU training I've attended in a long time. The presenter was excellent: expert, good communicator, great handouts, just solid. Very glad I attended. "

Margaret C - LEVITTOWN, Pennsylvania

"Very informative, very well spoken, kept my interest."

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