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A Question of Civility

An Ethics and Risk Management workshop

Sunday, May 19, 2019, 11AM – 6PM

Sold Out

(Registration and brunch, 11-11:30)

Richard Ruth, PhD

Credits and Fees

6 CE/CME ethics credit hours

Regular Fee: $180

WSP Members:

  • Contributing $144
  • Sustaining $126
  • Silver $117
  • Gold $108

Current WSP students: $30

Other students, please contact the administrative office

5028 Wisconsin Ave NW, #400, Washington DC 20016


The question of civility is in the air and a hot topic in the news. Loud voices, from the right and the left of the political spectrum and of the “culture wars,” condemn the incivility of current public debates – sometimes, offering critiques in discourse that is itself of questionable, at best, civility. How does this affect mental health practitioners? Can mental health clinicians add something useful to the debates about what civility is, and how to achieve it? At first, a response seems simple – isn’t
psychotherapy the quintessential exercise in civility, a hushed, respectful, reflective, private conversation? Viewed from one perspective – of course.

But isn’t psychotherapy also about confronting hard truths, when necessary with
uncomfortable directness? Certainly in the psychoanalytic tradition, with its emphasis on interpreting the unconscious, this can be so; but similar phenomena happen in exposure therapy for trauma, in psychopharmacology management done by psychiatrists and nurse practitioners, in gestalt and existential therapies, and in group and systemic therapies in which putting what has been disavowed into disconcerting words can be an essential entryway into clinical change.

This year’s Washington School ethics workshop will take up the problems inherent to civility in mental health practice from an ethical vantage point. Working in small and large groups on scenarios of ethical dilemmas around issues of civility members of our clinical community have encountered and grappled with, we will work together on identifying what lies at the heart of our shared ethical challenges and the principles
that can help inform their resolution. We can’t promise you will leave the day with
simple answers to complex questions. But, based on past experience with these
workshops, we can guarantee a day of collegial, simulating, thoughtful, and productive

Clinicians from all the mental health professions (and interested others), from every
theoretical orientation, from diverse practice settings, and at all stages of career
development, from graduate/professional students through senior clinicians, are welcome to this day of dialog and interchange.


Richard Ruth is associate professor of clinical psychology with the psychodynamically oriented PsyD program at The George Washington University, where he is also a founding and core faculty member with the interdisciplinary LGBT Health Policy and Practice graduate certificate program. He is a member of the faculty and steering committee and a supervisor with the Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy Program at the Washington School of Psychiatry. Dr. Ruth has served on the boards of the Division of Psychoanalysis of the American Psychological Association and its sections on Women, Gender, and Psychoanalysis and on Childhood and Adolescence. A clinical and forensic psychologist and a psychoanalyst, he is in private practice in Wheaton, Maryland, and Washington, DC.



Conference is now Full.



Cancellations and Refunds

Refunds will be made for cancellations received at the School office in writing at least 10 days before the seminar date and are subject to a non-refundable administrative fee of $50.

Who should attend?

The workshop is intended for psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, psychiatric nurses, licensed professional counselors, marriage and family therapists, physicians, medical students, and other graduate students.


The Washington School of Psychiatry is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Washington School of Psychiatry maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

The School is approved by the Social Work Board of the State of Maryland as a provider of continuing education for social workers in DC, MD, VA and WV.

The Washington School of Psychiatry has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6388. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. The Washington School of Psychiatry is solely responsible for all aspects of the program.

The Washington School of Psychiatry is accredited by MedChi, The Maryland State Medical Society to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The Washington School of Psychiatry designates each session for a maximum of _6 AMA PRA Category I Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Disclosure of Commercial Support and the Unlabeled use of a commercial product. No member of the planning committee and no member of the faculty for this event have a financial interest or other relationship with any commercial product.