DSST Fundamentals of counseling

An exception to confidentiality exists when the

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the expectation of confidentially is clearly explained and agreed upon at the beginning of a counseling relationship. An exception to confidentiality exists when the client represents a legitimate danger to himself or the public. The balance between the client’s right to confidence and society’s right to safety is tenuous at times. However, if your client tells you he or she has placed explosives somewhere, your overriding concern is for public safety. Other instances of acceptable information sharing occur when the client expressly authorizes you to share information or there is a court order demanding the release of information. Counselors are ordinarily governed by laws specific to the state in which they practice. There is a wide variation in the way laws are applied to counselors in different states. In general though, the code of ethics is supported by the law and if not outright supported then the law is neutral. The Buckley-Pell amendment, made to the Family and Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 ("FERPA"), defined the type of records that counselor were required to keep in public school settings. The crux of the amendment split a student’s records into two parts. The part that remained confidential was any information obtained specific to the counseling relationship. Psychologically relevant information gathered for purposes other than direct counseling were now considered part of the educational record and would be available to parents and students as well as administrative staff. Privileged communication is anything said to the counselor in a counseling interview with the understanding that the counselor will not divulge that information in any circumstance. Ministers, lawyers, spouses, and medical doctors all have quite universal laws regarding privileged information. The application to counselors varies from state to state. In general to establish privileged information there must be (1) expressed agreement, (2) confidentiality is deemed necessary for the relationship to be effective, (3) the privileged relationship must be supported by the community, and (4) disclosure could harm the individual. It is important that counselors investigate the obligations surrounding confidentiality in the state where they intend to practice. Empathy is the ability to understand how another person experiences life. Empathy goes beyond paraphrasing a client’s message and reflecting back an emotion. Empathy is a state of identifying with the other person’s experiences and understanding how and why it is they have come to feel the way they do. Authenticity involves being real and genuine and understanding what it means to be human. Who the counselor is has a deep impact on the client so it is important to have a complete understanding of and ability to express your core thoughts and feelings. There are two types of authenticity: authenticity to oneself and authenticity to others. When you’re authentic to yourself you are totally open and share information truthfully and freely. Being authentic to someone else means that you understand their limits and share information that will help them grow and develop. You give enough of yourself but not too much so as to overwhelm them.
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