Course Description

This course is designed to provide a broad overview of the code of legal and ethical standards governing the practice of marriage and family therapy in California. Specific attention is given to abuse reporting, confidentiality and privilege, and documentation.

12 Hours CE. This course meets BBS requirements for 12 hours of Law & Ethics CE required for re-test eligibility for Associate MFTs.


Here are the just some of the reasons why customers love our program:

  • Video format. We have more video content than any program we know. Whether you learn best by reading or by listening, you're set with us. We have more than 10 hours of video lectures, geared to efficiently guide you through key knowledge for your CA MFT law and ethics exam.
  • Taught by a leading MFT educator and advocate. Dr. Ben Caldwell is a licensed MFT specializing in couple therapy, has been teaching California MFTs at the graduate level for more than 15 years, and has fought and won many battles on behalf of MFTs with the BBS and the California Legislature. There are few people in the state with deeper knowledge of the field.
  • A better price. It's that simple: We built a great product, and we charge a lot less for it than some of our competitors. It's because we're mission-driven here: We're not just selling you a product, we're fighting for you. 
  • Organized based on the BBS Exam Plan so you know what to study for -- and there's nothing here you don't.
  • Available anywhere you're online. Our browser-based platform works on desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile, anytime you're connected to the internet. (System requirements apply.)
  • Practice questions with rationales. We currently have two 75-item full-length mock exams and one 25-item mini-mock, as well as shorter quizzes. In total, there are almost 200 practice questions in this course. 
  • CE certificate for re-examination eligibility. If you failed the law and ethics exam on a previous attempt and need a 12-hour CE course for re-examination eligibility, this is the course for you. Upon course completion, you're issued a 12-hour CE certificate recognized by the BBS. Full CE provider approval information below.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Explain the difference between confidentiality and privilege, identifying at least three exceptions to each

  • Define at least four types of child abuse that mental health professionals must report

  • Evaluate potential multiple relationships on the basis of two key principles and applicable legal and ethical standards

  • Describe at least two key differences between scope of practice and scope of competence

  • List at least three regulatory requirements for California MFTs using technology in the delivery of mental health services

Course Outline

Items in italics are written content; all other content is video. 

0. Required readings (63 min)

1. Parameters of practice (70 min)

a. Scope of practice

b. Self-awareness

c. Consultation and collaboration

d. Diverse populations

2. Documentation and disclosures (76 min)

a. Informed consent 

b. Documentation and access

3. Confidentiality and privilege (161 min)

a. Overview

b. Child abuse

c. Elder and dependent adult abuse

d. Danger to self and others

e. Privilege

4. Treatment (104 min)

a. Technology

b. Managing crises

c. Scope of practice

d. Multiple clients

e. Termination

5. Business (72 min)

a. Overview

b. Fees

c. Third party reimbursement

d. Advertising

6. Non-therapist roles (125 min)

a. Multiple relationships

b. Managing boundaries

c. Sexual relationships

d. Research ethics

e. Legal and other professional roles

f. Supervision

7. Unprofessional conduct (22 min)

Formative assessments (throughout course) (54 min)



Benjamin Caldwell, PsyD, LMFT

Benjamin Caldwell, PsyD is a California Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (#42723). He currently serves as adjunct faculty for California State University Northridge in Los Angeles. He has taught at the graduate level for more than 15 years, primarily in Law and Ethics, and has written and trained extensively on ethical applications in mental health care. In addition to serving a three-year term on the AAMFT Ethics Committee, Dr. Caldwell served as the Chair of the Legislative and Advocacy Committee for AAMFT-California for 10 years. He served as Editor for the Users Guide to the 2015 AAMFT Code of Ethics, Chair of the workgroup that developed Best Practices in the Online Practice of Couple and Family Therapy, and author of several books, including Saving Psychotherapy and Basics of California Law for LMFTs, LPCCs, and LCSWs.

Additional Information

Format and Length:

Recorded video (non-interactive) and written format. Total video running time 10 hours, 30 minutes. Written material estimated reading time 1 hour, 57 minutes.

Calculation of CE Credit:

This course is primarily video format, with some additional required readings and formative assessments. (Because the completion quiz is a 75-item exam with full rationales, it is considered a formative as well as a summative assessment.) The timing in each numbered chapter above is timing for the video segments required in that chapter. Required readings and formative assessments are presented in text form, with CE credit equivalent to an average reading speed of 200wpm. While rationales are provided for all questions in formative assessments, because rationale lengths vary based on the response choice provided, our calculations assume the shortest rationales that a participant may see.

Topic Area:

Law and Ethics

Instructional Level:

Beginning to Intermediate. Participants are expected to have some familiarity with basic legal and ethical concepts. This course focuses on the application of key legal rules and ethical standards in the clinical context for California MFTs.

Completion Requirements:

To obtain your CE certificate, you must progress through all course segments, complete a satisfaction survey, and obtain a score of 80% or higher on a course completion quiz. Learners are expected to complete the quiz within a reasonable number of attempts, and may be blocked from completing the course and receiving their certificate if unable to do so.

Completion Quiz and Course Evaluation:

After watching course videos, the course completion quiz will be available to complete, followed by the course evaluation.

Who Should Attend:

Those pursuing licensure or seeking to refresh their knowledge as California marriage and family therapists.

Publication and Review Dates:

Course Published: June 1, 2021 

Financial Support Statement:

SimplePractice Learning pays a licensing fee to Ben Caldwell Labs for this content. There is no other financial support for this course.

Conflict of Interest Statement:

The presenter serves as Chair of the SimplePractice Learning Curriculum Committee and Education Director for SimplePractice Learning. In accordance with our policy, he was recused from committee discussion and decision-making regarding this course. Content decisions are made at the committee level.

Refund Policy:

Click here to see our policies on attendance, refunds, grievances, and accessibility, and other frequently asked questions. Click here to contact us or submit a grievance.

Contact Information:

For any inquiries related to subject matter guidance, correction, grading, comments, or problem resolution please contact us.

System Requirements:

Please ensure your device meets our system requirements.

Continuing Education Approval:

SimplePractice is approved by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists to sponsor continuing education for LMFTs, LPCCs, LCSWs, and LEPs (CAMFT CEPA provider #145276). SimplePractice maintains responsibility for this program and its content. This course meets the qualifications for 12 hours of continuing education credit for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and/or LEPs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences.

This course is not offered under any of our other CE provider approvals.