Confidentiality Integrity and Professionalism in Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

The client is then hesitant to sue over a breach of trust because the client feels bonded to the therapist and does not want to hurt the therapist by suing.

Another issue with confidentiality breaching is that the client has revealed secrets to the therapist and may be concerned that a lawsuit will cause those secrets to become part of public record or be testified about on the stand (Grabois, 1997).

Two additional factors may explain the lack of claims by patients against their therapists (Grabois, 1997). These factors have a close connection to the intensity in this type of therapeutic relationship (Grabois, 1997). One factor is that patients do not recognize the psychotherapist's role in their distress, and the other is that psychotherapists are experts at handling people and their emotions (Grabois, 1997). If a patient is dissatisfied, the therapist can satisfy his or her doubts, or dissuade the patient from his or her anger (Grabois, 1997)."

Because of the things that would cause a client not to take legal action against a therapist who breached the confidentiality clause of the contract between the patient and the therapist, it is all the more vital that the therapist maintain a strict standard of integrity.

By doing this the therapist provides protection of the client and his or her personal issues and beliefs which can only serve to better address the client's needs and help the client work through the problems and move toward an emotionally healthy life.

Guttmacher and Weinhofen have noted that the psychiatric patient "confides more utterly than anyone else in the world (Grabois, 1997):"

He exposes to the therapist not only what his words directly express (Grabois, 1997); he lays bare his entire self, his dreams, his fantasies, his sins, and his shame. Most patients who undergo psychotherapy know that this is what will be expected of them, and that they cannot get help except on that condition (Grabois, 1997)."

It is vital that the client trust the therapist and this will only happen when the therapist conducts himself or herself with the utmost integrity and provides the highest standard of confidentiality (Cox, 2005).


Professionalism is another important attribute that a therapist must offer his or her clients. When examining the topic of professionalism with regard to therapists there are certain obvious standards that are adhered to by professional and ethical therapists (Cox, 2005). The confidentiality, the integrity and the ethics of the therapist are all elements that combine to determine the level of professionalism the marriage and family therapist display. In addition there are elements of professional attitudes that are vital to the success of the therapist practice.

Maintaining a social life that is part and separate from clients is part and parcel of a professional attitude (Cox, 2005). If a client is through seeing a therapist it becomes tempting fotr he client to attempt a social relationship with the therapist. The therapist must act professionally and refuse any social relationship with former clients (Cox, 2005).

In addition, the client should present a neat counseling atmosphere at all times so that the client feels comfortable and believes that he or she is in the care of a professional who has his or her own life in order.

A professional atmosphere is one in which the client can easily relax and feel that the paperwork, and other housekeeping elements of therapy will be handled with very little confusion.

Professionalism on the part of the therapist is important because many clients are turning to their therapists for guidance about how to structure and maintain their own lives, on the job, at home and socially. The therapist who maintains a constant professional attitude shows the client by modeling behavior the positive impact it can have on life.

In addition the therapist must maintain a professional attitude and environment so that the therapist can protect himself or herself should liability issues arise.

If a suit occurs which can happen when one is dealing with people who are emotionally fragile and may perceive things much differently than they actually are, a therapist that has maintained complete professionalism in the office, in attitude and in actions throughout his or her practice has a much better chance at defending himself or herself in the suit.

Being able to immediately locate records, and being able to have people testify on the stand about the therapist's consistent professional attitude and demeanor can go a long way in the defense of a suit. If the therapist has been conducting himself or herself in a professionally questionable manner in other areas of practice then it may lead the judge to believe that the law suit has validity even if it does not.


Vye, Christopher (2005) Nine ethical values of master therapists.(Special section: master therapists) Journal of Mental Health Counseling

Cox, Jane a. (2005) Managed mental health care: intentional misdiagnosis of mental disorders.(Practice & Theory) Journal of Counseling and Development

Kitchener, K. (1984). Intuition, critical evaluation and ethical principles: The foundation for ethical decisions in counseling psychology. The Counseling Psychologist, 12, 43-55.

Knauss, L. (1997). Professional training in ethics. In D. Marsh & R. Magee (Eds.), Ethical and legal issues in professional practice with families (pp. 289-311). New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Kohlberg, L. (1984). The psychology of moral development (Essays in moral development: Volume 2). New York: Harper & Row.

Lambert, M.J. (1992). Psychotherapy outcome: Implications for integrative and eclectic therapists. In J.C. Norcross & M.R. Goldfried (Eds,), Handbook of psychotherapy integration (pp. 94-129). New York: Basic Books.

Meara, N.M., Schmidt, L.D., & Day, J.D. (1996). Principles and virtues: A foundation for ethical decisions, policies, and character. The Counseling Psychologist, 24, 4-77.

Myers, J., & Truluck, M. (1998). Health beliefs, religious values, and the counseling process: A comparison of counselors and other mental health professionals. Counseling and Values, 42, 106-123.

Pope, K., & Bajt, T. (1988). When laws and values conflict: A dilemma for psychologists. American Psychologist, 43, 828-829.

Pope, K., & Vetter, V. (1992). Ethical dilemmas encountered by members of the American Psychological Association. American Psychologist, 47, 3974-411.

Prilleltensky, I., Walsh-Bowers, R., & Rossiter, a. (1999). Clinicians' lived experience of ethics: Values and challenges in helping children. Journal of Educational and Psychological Consultation, 10, 315-342.

Rest, J. (1984). Research on moral development: Implications for training counseling psychologists. The Counseling Psychologist, 12, 19-29.

Skovholt, T.M., & Jennings, L. (Eds.). (2004). Master therapists: Exploring expertise in therapy and counseling. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Skovholt, T.M., & Ronnestad, M.H. (1995). The evolving professional self: Stages and themes in therapist and counselor development. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.

Smith, T., McGuire, J., Abbott, D., & Blau, B. (1991). Clinical ethical decision making: An investigation of the rationales used to justify doing less than one believes one should. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 22, 235-239.

Webb, E., Campbell, D.T., Schwartz, R.D., & Sechrest, L. (1966). Unobtrusive measures: Nonreactive research in the social sciences. Chicago: Rand McNally.

The liability of psychotherapists for breach of confidentiality.

From: Journal of Law and Health | Date: March 22, 1997 | Author: Grabois, Ellen W. | More results for: confidentiality therapists

Peterson, K.A. (2000). First nursing homes, next managed care? Limiting liability in quality of care cases under the False Claims Act [Electronic version]. American Journal of Law & Medicine, 26(1), 69-89.

Rappo, P.D. (2002). Coding for mental health and behavioral problems: The arcane elevated to the ranks of the scientific [Electronic version]. Pediatrics, 110(1), 167-169.

Rother, J. (1996). Consumer protection in managed-care: A third-generation approach. Generations, 20, 42-46.

Sank, L. (1997). Taking on managed care: One reviewer at a time. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 28, 548-554.

Saurborn, K., & Mair, P.C. (2000). The False Claim Act. Find Law for Legal Professionals. Retrieved December 4, 2002, at

Seligman, L. (1999). Twenty years of diagnosis and the DSM [Electronic version].…

Cite This Term Paper:

"Confidentiality Integrity And Professionalism In" (2007, May 14) Retrieved August 21, 2017, from

"Confidentiality Integrity And Professionalism In" 14 May 2007. Web.21 August. 2017. <>

"Confidentiality Integrity And Professionalism In", 14 May 2007, Accessed.21 August. 2017,