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Transcript of Misty Lacy
Counselors implicitly and explicitly promise not to disclose client's personal information Clients can not benefit from therapy if they have lost faith in it
Clients may face psychological or physical harm ACA & APA ethics codes allow for counselors to share relevant case information for consultation purposes When working as part of a treatment team that generally refers to clients by first name, add disclosure to the informed consent Although being an egregious breach of confidentiality, research suggests that this standard in routinely violated Family and friends are under no obligation to keep client information confidential - divorce and deterioration of relationships can lead to information being used in vengeful ways. Be Mindful Use of cell phones, fax machines, home computers & tablets increases the risk for inadvertent breaches Confidentiality Vs. Privileged Communication Confidentiality is the COUNSELOR’s ethical & legal obligation to clients Privileged Communication is the CLIENT'S
right to prevent a court from demanding
a counselor to reveal material disclosed
in a confidential relationship Limits of Confidentiality Client Request for Release of Information Clients can choose to release their information to anyone This includes clients' rights to access their own records But counselors have the responsibility to educate clients about possible implications Be Mindful Someday clients may read what you write about them! Court Orders for Confidential Information Confidentiality is generally not protected if counselor is called as an expert witness or a consultant to evaluate a person's mental competency Client Complaints and Litigation Against Mental Health Professionals If a client wishes to sue for negligence, breach of contract or report an ethical violation, the client must waive the right to confidentiality Other Client Litigation If a client initiates legal action against another person that claims psychological harm or distress and has been seeing a counselor, The client must waive his or her rights to confidentiality State & Federal Statues Mandates such as the one requiring counselors to report child abuse and neglect Similar mandates are also in place for older adults and people with disabilities Dangerous Clients & the Duty to Protect Clients Planning Future Crimes In Washington State, if a client is under investigation and law enforcement officials contact the counselor seeking information about planned criminal activity, the client privilege is revoked. The counselor may be forced to provide information Counseling HIV-Positive Clients ACA Code of Ethics “When clients disclose that they have a disease commonly known to be both communicable and life threatening, counselors may be justified in disclosing information to identifiable third parties, if they are know to be at demonstrable and high risk of contacting the disease…” Counseling Individuals at the End of Their Lives Misty Lacy No legal mandate exists to breach confidentiality
Case by case decisions
Do not deliberate in isolation - consult
ACA code allows flexibility to breach or maintain confidentiality From the Literature Competence & capacity of client to give informed consent
Influence of co-morbid psychological conditions, pain, suffering, overall quality of life
Availability of social support
Availability of other interventions
Direct/indirect coercion Things to Consider: Summary Our main responsibility is always to our client. When we are legally mandated to breach confidentiality, the client's welfare should still be our utmost concern. WA state has a mandate to WARN identifiable victims
Did Lynne Fenton meet her obligation? Be Mindful The burden of confidentiality always rests on the counselor