Privacy and confidentiality are issues that are ever present in a therapists duties to provide treatment, to protect client’s rights, and ability to be able to provide records when called upon. There are laws and regulations set by each state and federal government that therapists are obligated to abide by, but these laws and regulations are not always clear and easy to understand. The misunderstanding of these laws and regulations can lead to harm and possible legal consequences. It is important as a therapist to have a good understanding of privacy and confidentiality laws and regulations in the state they practice as well as the federal laws and regulations. With having good understanding of these rules both local and federal, a therapist should be able to practice without threat of harm to their clients or themselves.
In the first video presentation the idea of a “duty to report” is being discussed by the parties in the video. “The general requirement that counselors keep information confidential does not apply when disclosure is required to protect clients or identified others from serious foreseeable harm or when legal requirements demand that confidential information must be revealed” (ACA code of ethics, 2005). The case being discussed in the video presentation is about a nurse not reporting and injury of a child brought into the emergency room by his foster parent. The legal requirement of the nurse as a mandated reported is to alert social services in the event of a child having been abused or neglected. It clearly states in the ACA code of ethics that confidentiality is a requirement for counselors when serious and foreseeable harm is present for a client. Also the Virginia Board of Counseling Laws and Regulations states that, “the following persons who, in their professional or official capacity, have reason to suspect that a child is an abused or neglected child, shall report the matter immediately to the local department of the county or city wherein the child resides or wherein the abuse or neglect is believed to have occurred” (Virginia Board of Counseling Laws and Regulations). These two regulations clearly dictate the responsibility for a therapist when dealing with matters of reporting abuse or neglect to children or elderly individuals. Some issues of culture were discussed in the video. Being that individuals from different countries and having different laws may view and act in ways that may break this regulation, but still the responsibility of the therapist is to report the incident immediately so that it can be investigated and dealt with by representatives of whatever department is responsible in that jurisdiction. In Virginia the responsibility of taking all complaints and investigating them falls to the Department of Social Services. Each jurisdiction in the Commonwealth has a separate department of social services that handles the complaints that are filed. Reporters that are mandated in the Commonwealth of Virginia are for example: any person licensed to practice medicine or any of the healing arts, any hospital resident or intern, and any person employed in the nursing profession, any person employed as a social worker, any probation officer, any mental health professional, any teacher, and any law enforcement officer. Also the statue states that person mandated to make a report is immune from any civil or legal liability. These are only some of the mandated reporters in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
The second segment in the video presentation ties directly into the responsibility of the reporting interpreted acts of deviance by clients. Confidentiality was the second topic in the video presentation. At the end of the video during the presentation of ideas the gentleman gave a very good description of how to view and handle