Confidentiality in Group therapy
Over the past several decades the advancement of group modalities in the mental health profession, has brought about several potentially challenging ethical and legal scenarios that pertain specifically to confidentiality, privileged communication and privacy in group work. The inherent power of therapeutic groups to bring about personal change for members has seen increasing recognition in recent years in the mental health profession (Corey and Corey, 2006). Historically however, individual therapy was viewed as the most effective form of treatment, and group therapy was a less crystallised alternative (Glass, 1998). Markus and King (2003) suggest, “There is a wealth of evidence that group psychotherapy is as effective as individual therapy in treating a range of psychiatric problems’ (p203). As professionals are asked to conduct more groups today then ever, it becomes essential not only for the safety of every client, but also for the psychologist and the profession, that a thorough grounding in the ethical standards is established (Durr). The following report explores the ethical and legal issues of confidentiality in group therapy through the application of relevant literature. First and foremost, the ethical and legal implications of confidentiality and informed consent will be explored through the analysis of ‘case 12’ of the board (2008). Secondly, the ethical concept of confidentiality and the legal concept of privileged communication, and privacy will be discussed, looking at specific studies interested in confidentiality dilemmas in group psychotherapy (Bloch, Ochoa, Pudon, Roback, 1992; Lasky, Riva, 2006; Klontz, 2004). Taking the later into consideration, the report will attempt to find a definitive answer to best manage the issue of confidentiality in professional practice. Due to increasing use of group work in the mental health profession and...
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