Letter from SE™ International Legal Affairs and Ethics Manager, Kathy Hally – March 21, 2022

by | Mar 18, 2022 | POINT OF VIEW

Dear Global SE Community,

On April 15, 2021, SEI finalized and implemented its first US Code of Ethics, Standards of Practice and Grievance Procedure. This was a significant milestone for SEI; however, it took several years of collaborative, deliberative effort to get to that point. Initially the work was led by a community-driven Ethics Work Group, and SEI leadership and staff continued to lay the groundwork to appropriately handle ethics inquiries and grievances. After a review and comment period offered to all constituents within the SE community, the new Code was published, and the new Ethics and Grievance Committee met for the first time two months later.

As the staff liaison for the Ethics and Grievance Committee, I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of this new era of our work from its beginning. Now I’d like to offer an update on where we’ve come from, what we’re doing, and where we’d like to go next, so that you can be more engaged in this work, too.

Our Ethics and Grievance Committee has three focal points for our monthly meetings:

  • We employ outside legal counsel to keep our documents current and accurate and provide overall guidance to the Committee
  • We review grievances as they are submitted
  • We provide education and support to the SE community around ethics-related topics

When the Committee first met officially in June 2021, we worked with principals from the Tenenbaum Law Group PLLC to make sure our documents were legally consistent and enforceable. In 2022, our legal counsel continues to attend monthly committee meetings to discuss ethics situations or questions that have been brought to SEI’s Legal Department. Both the Code of Ethics and the Grievance Procedure are living documents, so they are subject to change as needed.

At this time, the SEI Code of Ethics, Standards of Practice and Grievance Procedure only apply to SEI-sanctioned, US-based trainings and SEI, as an organization. This means that the current documents do not have standing and enforcement for grievances filed around SEP private practice issues or for workshops or events that are held outside of SEI’s formal trainings or for those held outside of the United States. Will it stay this way? There’s a lot to discuss and consider. It’s an ongoing conversation with the Committee and legal counsel, as we consider the evolution of SEI as an organization and the SEP credential as a publicly recognized mark for trauma resilience and resolution work.

When we finalized our Code and created our Ethics and Grievance Committee, we received a backlog of grievances to review. This was expected, as we didn’t have a formal grievance procedure prior to 2021. Since then, we’ve been meeting with lawyers, reviewing grievances and creating a process and supporting materials to keep all parties informed about the status of active grievances. It’s taken awhile, but we are now resolving grievances retroactive to the Code’s implementation and actively reviewing grievances filed after the April 15, 2021, implementation.

Lastly, the Committee is committed to providing education on ethics for the SE Community. In 2022, we plan to provide Code of Ethics training to all our training assistants, following training sessions held for SEI staff, board and faculty held in 2021. Additionally, we will be providing four webinars in 2022 for the broader SE community. The first one will be a recorded conversation on the Code of Ethics, where common topics will be addressed. Our other three offerings will be webinars focused on scope of practice, how to have an ethical practice, confidentiality, and conflict of interest. These webinars will be announced beforehand, as well as recorded and shared. I hope you’ll plan to attend! We believe that it is important for ethics education to be accessible to everyone and therefore we will not be charging for these webinars.

While not always the most scintillating of conversation topics to most people, ethics issues affect all of us. They’re incredibly important to our profession. That’s why the Ethics and Grievance Committee is looking forward to providing more support to the SE Community as we continue to learn and grow. Keep an eye out for coming announcements around our webinars, and for our updated Code of Ethics and Grievance Procedure. You can review the current policies at http://traumahealing.org/policies.

And if you do enjoy a good ethics conversation, we’re always available at legal@traumahealing.org!

With gratitude,

Kathy Hally