NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
Ellen T. Luepker
Ellen Luepker has made unique contributions to the profession through her ground-breaking work on boundary violations between practitioners and clients, which grew out of her role as a director of a group treatment program. She is now called upon as an expert witness in courts throughout the U.S and is nationally recognized for her work on social work and the law. She is invited to lecture nationally and internationally on violations of therapeutic and other boundaries, including sexual misconduct, and has written extensively in the professional literature based on research in this field.
In 1982, Luepker served on a Minnesota task force investigating the scope of practitioner boundary-violations and made recommendations to the state legislature regarding licensure, preventive hiring measures, and civil and criminal statutes.
She has practiced and taught therapeutic techniques for working with clients who have experienced boundary-violation. She has taught supervision and lectured in schools of social work at Smith College, Boston University, the University of Minnesota and Rochester University Medical School. In the mid-1990’s, she developed research that moved beyond the anecdotal to produce systematic studies of her patient population, the first of its kind in professional literature.
Luepker is a licensed independent clinical social worker in private practice in St. Paul, MN
Ellen Luepker earned her M.S.W. from Smith College School for Social Work in 1966 and her B.A. from Grinnell College in Iowa in 1964.
Significant Achievements and Awards
National Academy of Practice’s Distinguished Practitioner in Social Work Award
Grinnell College Alumni Award
Luepker was a co-founder of the Minnesota Society of Clinical Social Work in 1977 and a co-founder of the Minnesota Coalition of Social Work Licensure in 1978.
Luepker has published more than 20 works in her field expertise. Highlights include:
Luepker, E.T. (2012). Record Keeping in Psychotherapy and Counseling: Protecting Confidentiality and the Professional Relationship, (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group.
Luepker, E.T. (1999). Effects of practitioners' sexual misconduct: a follow-up study. Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 27(1), 51-63.
Schoener, G.R., Milgrom, J.H., Gonsiorek, J.C., Luepker, E.T., Conroe, R.M. (1990). Psychotherapists' sexual involvement with clients: Intervention and prevention. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Walk-in Counseling Center.