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Protecting Victims of Violent Patients while Protecting Confidentiality
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The correct answer, of course, is B, care is taken to determine the information's validity. The duty to warn, as I’ve just mentioned known as the Tarasoff Decision, overrides the client's right to give consent.
Answer C, the client was instructed earlier about the limits of confidentiality, is false because the duty to warn applies even if the client was not previously instructed about it. C describes what would be a good practice, but it's not required.
Answer B, however, is required. It would be destructive to violate a client's confidentiality and arise the anxiety of a presumed threatened third party on the basis of invalid information.
Let’s look at Answer D, the client has a serious and persistent mental illness, now this answer is incorrect, because the duty to warn applies to persons with any diagnosis or even no diagnosis at all.
♦ Ethical Issues of Chid Abuse and Confidentiality
Let’s begin this module with a question to stimulate your thinking.
Module 3 deals with the ethical issues and the conflict that arises related to child abuse and confidentiality.
Abuse of children, no doubt, is one of the greatest social maladies of our times, and current statistics, although staggering, may reflect only the surface of the problem as you are well aware.
Human services professionals -- including psychologists, social workers, marriage and family therapists, mental health counselors, teachers, and psychologists -- are required by law, as you know, to report suspected child mistreatment or child abuse.
- Rothstein, M. A. (2014). Tarasoff Duties after Newtown. Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, 42(1), 104-109.
- Administration for Children & Families. (august 2014). Confidentiality Toolkit. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 1-129.
Peer-Reviewed Journal Article References:
Bersoff, D. N. (2014). Protecting victims of violent patients while protecting confidentiality. American Psychologist, 69(5), 461–467.
Hudgins, C., Rose, S., Fifield, P. Y., & Arnault, S. (2013). Navigating the legal and ethical foundations of informed consent and confidentiality in integrated primary care. Families, Systems, & Health, 31(1), 9–19.
You are about to finish a session with Helen the mother and Jodie the daughter. You feel Helen has pent up hostilities towards her daughter. You notice as Jodie reaches for her school bag to leave, her sleeve pulls up to reveal a cut and a large bruise on her arm. The first thing you should do would be:
a. contact Child Protective Services about the possibility of abuse
Helen how the injury happened
c. wait until the next session to discuss the
d. ask the child in private how the cut and bruise happened
To select and enter your answer go to .