Policy On Confidentiality
Confidentiality is one of the fundamental tenets of counselling. The confidentiality is necessary both ethically and practically because without an assurance of confidentiality, many of those who seek help from counselling would not do so. The protection of confidentiality ultimately protects sensitive client information. However, there are limitations to confidentiality. The limits to confidentiality are outlined below:
Where Confidentiality Might Be Breeched:
I may need to discuss my work with my supervisor. This is standard practice for all psychotherapists/counsellors. Counsellors are professionally required to have regular supervision, in which they reflect upon their work with an experienced and appropriately qualified supervisor. Client confidentiality is strictly preserved during supervision.
If I suspect you are at risk of harm or could harm another I would seek suitable professional help and would make every effort to discuss the situation with you in advance. I have an ethical obligation to seek to put supports in place where I believe you are at risk of causing harm to yourself or others. Where possible this will be done through discussion with you. In addition to this I also have a legal obligation to advise outside agencies where there are grounds for believing that you, or a person identifiable from information provided by the you, will cause harm to another. In the event of these situations arising, I will endeavour to get your consent before taking any such action.
By law I have a duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and vulnerable adults. I am required to report any knowledge, belief or reasonable suspicion that a child/vulnerable adult has been harmed, is being harmed, or is at risk of being harmed. This includes assault, ill-treatment, neglect or sexual abuse. Where possible I will try to support you in reporting such matters to the relevant authorities themselves. I will consult with you and my supervisor, in advance of making any such report. However, in emergencies, I am required to make my own judgement as to what action is required.
By law I also have a legal obligation to pass on information about serious crimes if they are disclosed to me in the counselling room e.g. terrorism and drug trafficking. Clients need to be aware that I may also be compelled to disclose information about them by the courts or law enforcement authorities. This would only be done with careful consideration of my ethical responsibilities and advice from my supervisor and other relevant, expert legal or professional advisors.
If you have any questions about anything within this policy, I encourage you to bring them up when we meet.