Professional counselors must follow legal and ethical guidelines to protect their clients’ or students’ privacy and confidentiality. However, they also need to protect their clients or students from self-harm and harm by others, and they need to protect other people from potentially dangerous clients or students. At times, these duties may limit a client’s or student’s right to confidentiality. State laws contain specific statutes or regulations that mandate when a counselor must break confidentiality to protect clients or students from harm. Schools and agencies will also have specific guidelines and policies that must be followed in such cases.
Create a 250-word scenario for a client or student who is under the age of 18, reflective of the work you will do as a professional counselor that describes the client or student who expresses one of the following:
- Thoughts of harm to self.
- Thoughts of harm to another.
- Disclosure of abuse.
Address all of the following in your case scenario:
- Include the student’s or client’s age and the setting in which you are working.
- Describe the specific steps you will take to assess the potential risk to or from your student or client.
- Discuss the guidelines you will follow to report if a minor has experienced abuse or is in jeopardy of being harmed. Locate the specific laws in your state that address mandated reporting procedures and cite the sections of these laws that would guide your actions.
- Explain how you will address informed consent and any exceptions to confidentiality with your student or client so that damage to the counseling relationship is minimized.
- Include specific examples to illustrate your ideas, and support your discussion with references to state laws and regulations, the 2014 ACA Code of Ethics and/or the 2010 ASCA Ethical Standards for School Counselors, and articles from the professional literature.
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