In essence, confidentiality in a school counseling setting refers to the student’s right to have what they share in the counseling relationship to be kept private. The school counselor does not have the right to divulge this information unless under very specific circumstances. This can be tricky as more often than not, our students are minors. Many legal and ethical implications apply to confidentiality.
More from ASCA: “School counselors affirm their belief in the student’s worth and dignity (ASCA, 2016, A.1.a). It is the school counselors’ responsibility to fully respect the right to privacy of those with whom they enter a counseling relationship and to provide an atmosphere of trust and confidence (Lazovsky, 2008) unless keeping that information confidential leads to foreseeable harm to the student. Foreseeable and serious harm is different for each minor in the school setting and is determined by students’ developmental and chronological age, the setting, parental rights and the nature of harm (ASCA, 2016, A.2.e). Confidentiality is an ethical and legal term focused on information communicated within the counseling relationship. A school counselor who is in a counseling relationship with a student has an ethical and legal obligation to keep information contained within that relationship. Exceptions to confidentiality exist, and students should be informed that situations arise in which school counselors must inform others of information obtained in counseling relationships to protect students themselves or others. Privileged communication between a school counselor and a student is a legal term granting privilege to a counseling relationship only if said privilege is granted by federal or state statue. If privilege applies it can provide additional safeguards to confidential information. “(Excerpt taken from: https://www.schoolcounselor.org/asca/media/asca/PositionStatements/2018PublicComment/Confidentiality-DRAFT.pdf)
- ASCA’s ethical standards are a great source of guidance when dealing with issues of confidentiality.
- When in doubt, also reach out to the legal counsel for your district, particularly if you are subpoenaed.
- There are many different interpretations of which records can or cannot be subpoenaed.
- I have found that many situations where parents are seeking confidential information can be resolved by developing a relationship of mutual trust and sharing regular reports of how I feel the child is progressing, without giving specifics.
- Confidentiality is central to all we do but can be tricky since we serve minors and have so many different stakeholders.
- Counselortalk chat on using Google Docs for private records, Jan., 2017-Should I store counselor records on Google Docs
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- Mary on May 1, 2018 @ 19:50:56
- 1StopABCD on January 10, 2017 @ 20:36:07
- Heather on August 7, 2016 @ 18:29:06
This post was created by ABCD ContentManager on August 7, 2016.