Confidentiality – A Case Scenario
Professional counselors must follow legal and ethical guidelines to protect their clients’ or students’ privacy and confidentiality. However, they also need to protect their clients or students from self-harm and harm by others, and they need to protect other people from potentially dangerous clients or students. At times, these duties may limit a client’s or student’s right to confidentiality. State laws contain specific statutes or regulations that mandate when a counselor must break confidentiality to protect clients or students from harm. Schools and agencies also have specific guidelines and policies that must be followed in such cases.
For this discussion, create a brief scenario for a client or student who is under the age of 18, reflective of the work you will do as a professional counselor, and who expresses one of the following:
· Thoughts of harm to self.
· Thoughts of harm to another.
· Disclosure of abuse.
Address all of the following in your case scenario:
· Include the student’s or client’s age and the setting in which you are working.
· Describe the specific steps you will take to assess the potential risk to or from your student or client.
· Discuss the guidelines you will follow to report if a minor has experienced abuse or is in jeopardy of being harmed. Locate the specific laws in your state that address mandated reporting procedures and cite the sections of these laws that would guide your actions.
· Explain how you will address informed consent and any exceptions to confidentiality with your student or client so that damage to the counseling relationship is minimized.
Include specific examples to illustrate your ideas, and support your discussion with references to state laws and regulations, the 2014 ACA Code of Ethics, the 2016 ASCA Ethical Standards for School Counselors, and articles from the professional literature. Follow current APA style and formatting guidelines in your post using quotations sparingly so your own analysis is clear.
Response Guidelines
Respond to the initial discussion posts of two other learners. What reactions do you have to the ideas the learner has presented? Include examples from your own experience to support your perspective, and raise questions to continue the dialogue.
Learning Components
This activity will help you achieve the following learning components:
· Identify state laws relevant to different counseling scenarios.
· Practice interpreting counseling-related information for different audiences.
· Determine the proper application of APA formatting requirements.
Resources
· Discussion Participation Scoring Guide.
· ASCA Ethical Standards for School Counselors [PDF].
· APA Style and Format.

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Counseling and mental health: · Discuss the guidelines you will follow to report if a minor has experienced abuse or is in jeopardy of being harmed. Locate the specific laws in your state that address mandated reporting procedures and cite the sections of these laws that would guide your actions.
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