Explore BrainMass

Confidentiality in Ethical Decision making

This content was STOLEN from BrainMass.com - View the original, and get the already-completed solution here!


"A psychologist is providing psychotherapy to another psychologist. The patient reveals that he has committed a serious ethical violation. The patient states that due to patient confidentiality, the therapist cannot report the violation".

-Describe this dilemma
-Apply each one of the 14 steps (attached) in the ethical decision making process to this confidentiality issue
-Explain the importance of ethical decision making in professional psychology

© BrainMass Inc. brainmass.com October 25, 2018, 4:46 am ad1c9bdddf


Solution Preview

Ethical decision making is fundamental in all types of professional counseling. The basic guidelines, to which there are some exceptions are whatever a client reveals to you, must be kept in strict confidence. The American Psychiatric Association (APA, 2002) has provided ethical guidelines for psychiatrists and psychologist to follow. The ethical guidelines of confidentiality addresses the following proposed questions:

Step 1: Identify the situation that requires ethical consideration and decision

The situation associated with this problem could suggest an exception to confidentiality. For example, under certain conditions, the counselor may have a moral obligation to break confidentiality. Licensed counselors are required by law, to break confidentiality if a client reveals an intent to commit violence to self or others.

Step 2: *Anticipate who will be affected by your decision

Sometimes a counselor is faced with difficult decisions as he or she may be privy to information that is required by law to report (different states have different rules) specific legal, protective or social service agencies. For instance, conditions may prevail in which you should notify family members of the suicidal thoughts of a client. The law (in a particular state) may require disclosure in these situations to other agencies, even if the client does not give consent.

Step 3: Figure out who, if anyone, is the client

There may be problems if you are counseling with a person with whom you may have had some relationship. Avoid counseling people with whom you currently or in the future have a relationship with. You still must honor the rules of confidentiality. If you don't feel comfortable within the session, it is best not to enter into the counseling relationship.
Is there any ...

Solution Summary

The American Psychiatric Association (APA, 2002) has provided ethical guidelines for psychiatrists and psychologist to follow in the treatment of clients. The ethical guidelines of confidentiality are discussed referring to what a client states to the counselor in the therapeutic session must be kept in strict confidence.

See Also This Related BrainMass Solution

Issues of Boundary-Setting and Confidentiality in Ethical Decision Making

Case study of Wadesville Community

Jules Cooper - Probation Officer

Analyze the issues of trust in Jules Cooper's ethical decision-making. Analyze issues of boundary-setting and confidentiality in her ethical decision-making. From your personal and professional perspectives, which issue should dominate ethical decision-making out of these three: trust, boundaries, or confidentiality? From a parent's perspective, did Jules Cooper do the right thing?

I am Jules Cooper, age 35. I was born in South Carolina. I am currently a Probation officer. I also do
volunteer work at the local Juvenile facility, doing intakes and mental health counseling. I earned my BA
in Criminal Justice and am currently working on a Masters in Human Services. I was a police officer for 5
years in the community.

I see first hand what these kids are up to. Many of the kids confide in me. I am never quite sure if they
are telling me the truth. But I keep what they say to my self. I figure that these kids are troubled and
their parents are probably the reason why. They need someone to talk to. Why not me? I have, on rare
occasions, divulged some of this information to community leaders but never used names. I am aware of
suicidal kids, drug dealers, kids who are prostituting, and kids who are violent to their boyfriends and
girlfriends. I feel that I was called by God to do this work. I am passionate about these kids.

I have 5 kids of my own, 3 of whom attend Wadesville High. Two are honor students. One is pregnant.
The twins, age 5, were born HIV positive. I am HIV positive. It's a long story about a relationship gone
wrong. I am on a regimen and doing really well.

I made a lot of bad choices in my life. I want to help the kids that I am in contact with to see the error of
their ways. If my experiences and education can help one kid, then I will feel the HIV is my burden to
bear in lieu of that help.

I want to get that Masters degree in order to open my own Christian Counseling Center. I have been
diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and had some substance abuse issues. I am getting
treatment at the Free Clinic. I can overcome these obstacles and use my experiences to help others.

View Full Posting Details