Communication between counsellor and client will be confidential. Information given will be treated as privileged information unless the client gives consent to any particular information being disclosed. Exceptions to this principle occur when, in the professional judgement of the counsellor, there is clear and imminent danger to the client or others.
Counsellors and Hospital Family Resource Centre have a responsibility to:
- Ensure that the setting for counselling sessions is appropriately private.
- Treat in confidence personal information about clients, whether obtained directly or indirectly or by inference. Such information includes names, address, biographical details, and any descriptions of the client’s life and circumstances, which might make the client identifiable by others.
- Ensure that information, which may lead to the identification of clients, is not transmitted through links with other agencies.
- Break confidentiality only where required by law, or where there are grounds for believing that clients will cause physical harm to themselves or others. Where feasible, counsellors shall endeavour to obtain the client’s consent and consult their supervisor or an experienced colleague, in advance of any such disclosure. However, in emergencies, counsellors shall make their own judgement as to what action is best.
- Minimize any breach of confidentiality by conveying only information which is necessary, and only to relevant persons.
- In supervision and consultation with colleagues, reveal only information about clients relevant for those purposes.
- Discuss the limits of confidentiality with the client at the time of initial contraction, the discussion to include the implications for confidentiality of the supervisory relationship.
- Store, handle, transfer and dispose of all records (including written, electronic, audio and video) securely and in a way that safeguards the clients right to privacy.
- Operate a clear and confidential appointments and referral procedure.
- Due to the community setting of the service, the counsellor should highlight to clients the possibility of contact with members of the community who may also use the centre.