Confidentiality as an Ethical Dilemma - Article Example

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The researcher of the essay is aimed to analyze the confidentiality. The studies have shown that the most frequently described dilemmas in the field of therapy involve confidentiality. Of these incidents, several revealed that decisions had to be made as to whether confidential information should be disclosed…
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Confidentiality as an Ethical Dilemma
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Download file to see previous pages The conflict between honoring confidential agreements and using the information to help the client requires a psychologist to make a decision that could go either way, but the decision must be made regardless. When sharing confidential information outside a treatment relationship, psychologists must consider the nature, purpose, and manner of the disclosure. According to Stephen Behnke, APA ethics director, (2005), “confidentiality is the core value of the profession,” but when faced with an ethical dilemma, the APA Ethics Code can offer guidance in a difficult situation. The key facts that create an ethical dilemma when confidentiality must be breached are first, the nature of an ethical dilemma in which confidentiality is an issue. It is therefore necessary to clarify the term “confidentiality.” It is treatment of information given in a relationship of trust with the understanding that the information will not be disclosed without permission (MedSearch). Another area to be addressed is the purpose of an infringement of confidentiality, and the third is the manner of the disclosure (Behnke, 2005). Below are selected case histories in which confidentiality created an ethical dilemma:
Problem: A colleague withheld information about a client from the therapist to whom she transferred a case on grounds of maintaining client confidentiality. Both were employed in the same agency. Should this information have been shared for the benefit of the client? (Pope & Vetter, 1992, Confidentiality).
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Another option would be to follow Ethics Code 4.06 and determine the minimum amount of confidential information that would assist the patient and the therapist and share that even though the patient has not given permission.
Problem: An executive director of a Mental Health Clinic used his position to obtain and review clinical patient files of clients who were members of his church. Is he correct in his premise that confidential information will help him in his clerical role and therefore his use of the information is ethical (Pope & Vetter, 1992: Confidentiality).
Resolution: Even though the director considers his actions to be ethical, he is still using confidential information to assist members of his church who are not his individual clients. The question is whether he can counsel church members without this information, and if so, shouldn't that be the most ethical option After all, the director has access to confidential information, but the church members have not given him permission to use it in a church setting.
In the cases noted above, what is the purpose of disclosing confidential material, whether sharing it with a colleague or using it in an entirely different setting not related to professional therapy In the first case, information was not shared, but the purpose for holding back the information was not noted or explained. Since the two therapists are members of the same agency, sharing information for the good of the client would seem logical. In the second case, the director of the hospital is using information as a means of helping a parishioner in need. His purpose is not really justified, and the secretive manner in which he uses the information is unethical.
If a client has a personality disorder and a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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