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Privacy and Confidentiality in the Therapeutic Relationship

Section 11
Sharing of Information

Question 11 | Test | Table of Contents

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The correct answer, of course, is C. Information about a client may be shared among staff members within a program without the client's consent. However, the most ethical approach, and the approach that will best support a sense of credibility and trust in your relationship with the client, is to inform the client that information will be shared.

A, you must obtain written consent, is incorrect. Some therapists and some programs might choose to take this approach, but it is not necessary.

B, you need to obtain written confirmation from other staff, is also incorrect because other professional staff are bound by the same confidentiality requirements that apply to you, and if there are nonprofessional staff in the program, they should be bound by confidentiality policies and procedures of the program as well, so no written confirmation is needed.

D, you should encourage Mary to provide the various staff members with information from your intake, is also incorrect because the client should not be expected to repeat her story over and over again with other staff members. Also, the client would not be in a good position to present and explain your clinical inferences and impressions.

The content of Section 11 is intentionally brief, to accommodate a parallel formatting of the content providing questions followed by a rationale for each answer.

- Gellman, R., PhD. (1999). The Myth of Patient Confidentiality. Information Impacts Magazine.

Peer-Reviewed Journal Article References:
Barnett, J. E. (2019). The ethical practice of psychotherapy: Clearly within our reach. Psychotherapy, 56(4), 431–440.

Cleveland, K. C., & Quas, J. A. (2018). Parents’ understanding of the juvenile dependency system. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 24(4), 459–473.

Moss, L. S. (2017). Collaboration, confidentiality, and care. Psychological Services, 14(4), 443–450.

Rigg, T. (2018). The ethical considerations of storing client information online. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 49(5-6), 332–335. 

Spaniol, L. (2004). Sharing of information [Editorial]. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 28(1), 1–2.

When a former client is deceased, confidentiality...
a. no longer applies
b. applies only to non-clinical information such as demographic information and dates of service contacts
c. does not apply to any information that might be relevant to settling of the client's estate
d. applies as if the client were still alive
To select and enter your answer go to Test.

Section 12
Table of Contents