Mental Health Counseling Question

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Question Description

Name one personal limitation you may experience as a Clinical Mental Health Counseling and provide an ethical alternative for how you will handle this issue. Be sure to include an action plan for how you will seek supervision or refer when appropriate.

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Explanation & Answer


As a clinical mental health counselor I am always asking for information about my clients to employers, spouses, school administrators, insurance companies and others. While such requests may be well-intentioned, as a psychologists I need to carefully balance the disclosure with their ethical obligations to protect my patients' confidentiality.

Actually, because the public has put  their trust in me as a psychologists' promises of confidentiality, it's essential for me as a psychologists to be clear on whether and why Am releasing information.

I always ask myself, 'On what basis am I making this disclosure?'" advises Behnke. "Is there a law that mandates the disclosure? Is there a law that permits me to disclose? Has my client consented to the disclosure?'"

APA's 2002 Ethics Code stipulates that as a psychologists I may only disclose the minimum information necessary to provide needed services, obtain appropriate consultations, protect the client, psychologist or others from harm, or obtain payment for services from a client.

To help prevent confidentiality problems, as a clinical health mental counselor

  • Discuss the limits of confidentiality, such as uses of electronic transmission and the foreseeable uses of confidential information, as soon as possible.

  • Ensure the safe storage of confidential records. At the outset, I should let people know what will be done with case materials, photos and audio and video recordings, and secure their consent. Also, make sure rooms where confidential conversations occur are soundproof.

  • Know federal and state law. I should Know the ins and outs of my state's laws that relate to my practice. And keep in mind how the recently implemented Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act affects my practice

  • Obey mandatory reporting laws. Even if as a counselor I believe that reporting abuse could make the situation even worse, "these laws are mandatory reporting laws, not discretionary reporting laws," says lawyer Mathew D. Cohen, who specializes in representing human-service providers. Mandatory reporting laws were not created to have counselors decide whether abuse or neglect is happening, says Cohen, but to have them bring the facts to the attention of authorities, who will decide.

Zathtv (227)
UC Berkeley

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