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Protecting Confidentiality Rights Discussion

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Psychology
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Topic 4 DQ 1 (Obj. 4.1)
Sheila came to your office about 8 months ago seeking counseling. She stated that she, "hoped to
save her marriage." After a few sessions with Sheila, you suggested that couples counseling
might be helpful, but her husband, Roy, refused to participate. Three months ago, Sheila and Roy
went through a very nasty breakup of their marriage, and now you have been subpoenaed to
produce all of your records pertaining to Sheila's treatment. Sheila has told you not to comply
with the subpoena.
First and foremost, this is a subpoena not a court order. “Regardless of state or setting, it is
ethically and legally important for psychologists not to treat an attorney's discovery subpoena as
if it had the legal authority of a court order” Fisher (2008). As a counselor we must be familiar
with the state law concerning confidentiality. Fisher (2008) continues, “As described by
the APA Committee on Legal Issues (1996), in the absence of client consent, the appropriate
response to a discovery subpoena is to file a motion to quash it, thereby requiring a judge to
determine whether the information can be legally protected. It comes down to the code of
ethics we must follow. Ethically we must protect our client’s confidentiality. Through
continuing education and use of supervisory recommendations and/or advice, we must become
experts on client confidentiality that is based on our governing code of ethics.
Psychologists can reclaim their status as confidentiality experts in their own right only by
regaining an understanding of clients' rights about it, not as defined by law, but as defined by the
ethics of their own profession. If psychologists are confused about their obligations, what they
need is not more information, but an ethics-based model for organizing and using the
information they already have. If psychologists are having difficulty seeing the ethical forest for
the legal trees, what they need is not more legal training, but clearer ethics-based training.
Fisher, M. A. (2008). Protecting confidentiality rights: The need for an ethical practice
model. American Psychologist, 63(1), 113. https://doi-org.lopes.idm.oclc.org/10.1037/0003-
066X.63.1.1

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Topic 4 DQ 1 (Obj. 4.1) Sheila came to your office about 8 months ago seeking counseling. She stated that she, "hoped to save her marriage." After a few sessions with Sheila, you suggested that couples counseling might be helpful, but her husband, Roy, refused to participate. Three months ago, Sheil ...
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