Explain the significance of confidentiality in ethical psychological practice, as it applies to the case above. Explain how your feelings, beliefs, attitudes, and cultural perspectives might influence how you conceptualize this case. Support your explanat
Confidentiality is one of the ethical imperatives that is held in the highest regard by psychologists and clients. Safeguarding information disclosed to psychologists during the course of a professional relationship is something both clients and psychologists alike expect. It is a fundamental building block of the trust needed between psychologist and client. This expectation crosses many types of psychological interventions, including (but not limited to) interpersonal therapy; assessment of children, individuals, and couples; and research with human subjects. Confidentiality is expected in both public and private professional settings and interactions.
Despite such protections of confidential client information, there has been a persistent weakening of these same rights, especially subsequent to the September 11, 2001 destruction of the World Trade Center towers in New York City. The passion for privacy needed to be balanced by the right to protect one’s homeland and life (Safire, 2004, p. A27). Safire observed that patients could no longer expect that their mental health histories would remain confidential. This, however, was true prior to September 11, 2001. Clients have long been forced to waive their right to privacy when utilizing insurance to pay for their mental health treatment, which routinely requires transmission to the insurer of client diagnosis, prognosis, and aspects of history. There also are other exceptions that have existed before 2001 and include the following: the legal mandate to report both child and elder abuse/neglect; the legal requirement to warn specified others of a client’s intent to harm; the legal requirement to cooperate in providing records for which a psychologist has received a court order; the requirement to provide information to an employer who has hired a psychologist to assess a client for “fitness for duty” or some other reason (and similarly providing information to the courts from court mandated assessments).
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