March 28, 2012
Helen, in this case study, is a third year student at a leading University who was sexually harassed twice, by the same person. Her University has a policy which clearly states that any incident of alleged sexual harassment must be reported to the University so they can investigate, remedy, and resolve the problem. Helen did not want to report to her University that she was sexually harassed. Instead she disclosed her victimization to a clinical psychologist issued by her University. The clinical psychologists are employees of the University and bound by all of the University’s policies. At the same time, clients who are treated by these campus psychologists are also protected by a client-patient privilege of confidentiality. Should the clinical psychologists report the incident to the University?
Helen chose to report her sexual harassment issue to a clinical psychologist issued by her University because she did not want to disclose this information to the University. Client-patient privilege of confidentiality is the principle that an institution or individual should not reveal information about their clients to a third party without the consent of the client or a clear legal reason. Even though the University’s policy says that all staff and students should report sexual harassment, students who consult these school psychologists should have their disclosures respected because it is confidential personal information. If the school psychologist does not tell the University that Helen was sexually harassed, the psychologist is breaking the schools policy and it will jeopardize this psychologist’s job or face serious problems. They can also be held legally responsible for Helen’s problems because he or she would be hiding a violation that was committed on campus, therefore they can be held liable for an act of breaking or failing to observe a law, agreement, or code of conduct. Some options to get rid of this problem are to consult a psychologist that is not a school psychologist. Though it is not always affordable for all students but it is good to know that there are other