Confidentiality and Minors

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Confidentiality is an essential component to the counseling process. It allows for the client to build a trustful relationship with the counselor. “ Counselors regard the promise of confidentiality to be essential for the development of client trust” (Glosoff & Pate, 2002). Most individuals that seek counseling services assume that what is discussed in the counseling sessions with the counselor will be kept in confidence with limited exceptions. These exceptions become a complex balancing act for the counselor especially when their clients are minors. “Confidentiality is a widely held ethical standard a variously accorded legal right of clients and responsibility of counselors (American Counseling Association, 2005: American School Counseling Association, 2010). According to the Ethical Standards for School Counselors and the Code of Ethics and Standards for Counseling (2010), both specify that counselors are ethically required to take appropriate action and breach confidentiality in certain circumstances involving minors. Counselors are required to breach confidentiality if there is imminent danger to self and others, if there is suspected child abuse or neglect or to protect a vulnerable client from danger. There are other limitations to confidentiality and minors as well. Some of these limitations involve parents and their right to know what is happening in counseling sessions between the therapist and their child. This problem is one that schools counselors and clinical therapists must face when counseling minors. Counselors in both clinical and school settings are faced with ethical issues with regards to confidentiality each time they encounter a client that is a minor. School Counselors have a variety of roles and responsibilities to students, teachers, parents and administrators (Iyer, McGregor & Connor, 2010). According to the American School Counseling Association (2004), it is the responsibility of the school counselor to help a child


References: American Counseling Association. (2005). Code of ethics and standards of practice (Rev. ed.) Alexandria, VA: Author. American School Counselor Association. (2010). Ethical standards for school counselors. Retrieved from http://www.schoolcounselor.org/content.asp?contentid=17 Barnett, J Ellis, E. M. (2009). Should a psychotherapist be compelled to release an adolescent’s treatment records to a parent in a contested custody case?. Professional Psychology: Research And Practice, 40(6), 557-563. doi:10.1037/a0017419 Glosoff, H Iyer, N.N., Baxter-McGregor, J. & Connor, A. R. (2010). Ethical dilemmas for the school counselor: balancing student confidentiality and parents’ right to know. New York State School Counselor Association, 7(2), 17-22. Kaplan, A. I. (2005). Therapist-Patient Privilege: Who Owns the Privilege?. Journal Of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 11(1/2), 135-143. doi:10.1300/J146v11n0111 Lazovsky, R Mitchell, C. W., Disque, J., & Robertson, P. (2002). When parents want to know: Responding to parental demands for confidential information. Professional School Counseling, 6(2), 156-161. Rehmley, T.P., & Herlihy, B. (2010). Ethical, Legal and Professional Issues in Counseling. Merrill; New York. Stone, C., & Isaacs, M. L. (2003). Confidentiality with minors: The need for policy to promote and protect. The Journal Of Educational Research, 96(3), 140- 150. doi:10.1080/00220670309598802 Confidentiality and Minors

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