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Confidentiality in Counselling

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DENISE AMPS
November 2006
Essay on ‘Confidentiality’

CONFIDENTIALITY IN COUNSELLING

Confidentiality in counselling means, to me, providing a secure, trusting relationship with a client who knows that, within certain limits, he or she can speak to you about anything at all in the knowledge that whatever has been said will go no further. It is an intrinsic and imperative part of the trust that is required to develop a good working relationship between a counsellor and their client. My client will know that, excepting those limits noted below, I will hold safe everything they share with me; their thoughts, their worries, their deepest secrets, their life story and they will leave our counselling sessions with the surety that
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“Some threats to the public interest are considered sufficient to require a statutory obligation to disclose. These include matters concerning the prevention and detection of terrorism concerning Northern Ireland (Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provision) Act 1989), and drug trafficking (Drug Trafficking Offences Act 1986). Not to make a disclosure is an offence. Notifying people that you have made a disclosure about them constitutes a separate offence.” (Bond P159 Para 4 Lines 1-8)
The decision to take such action is not likely to be straightforward or obvious and I would have to be as sure as I could be that I was making the correct choice for all involved. Breaking confidence to protect the well-being of either my client or another person, perhaps myself, because I considered the possibility of that danger to be real, is a difficult and crucial decision to make and I must feel that there is significant danger of harm.
“One of the great weaknesses of the current ethical and legal arrangements with regard to confidentiality is that the complexity must create a degree of uncertainty for counsellor and client. ….. The law has taken the view that confidentiality cannot be justified as an absolute principle. ……” (Bond P166 Para 2
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