Introducing limits of confidentiality in real-life consultations: psychologist-driven or client-centred?

Lamont-Mills, Andrea and Christensen, Steven A. (2010) Introducing limits of confidentiality in real-life consultations: psychologist-driven or client-centred? Australian Journal of Counselling Psychology. ISSN 1443-9697


The Australian Psychological Society Code of Ethics explicitly states that clients are to be informed about the legal limits of confidentiality prior to engaging in any psychological relationship. Maintaining and respecting client confidentiality is also seen as a major professional obligation. Despite this, little research has examined how limits of confidentiality is introduced, discussed, and oriented to in real-life psychological consultations. An initial consultation between a client and a provisionally registered psychologist was used to explore how a psychologist and client interactively managed limits of confidentiality. Using a discursive psychological framework, analysis revealed that while the psychologist complied with the ethical obligation of informing the client of the limits of confidentially before counselling began, the way in which the psychologist enacted this restricted the client's opportunities to ask questions or seek clarification about these limits. Further, when the psychologist explicitly asked for client confirmation of understanding and acceptance of these limits, what the client confirmed and accepted appears unclear. Given that breaches of confidentiality are Registration Board matters, this lack of clarity and limiting of client interaction is concerning.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to published version in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - Department of Psychology
Date Deposited: 25 Jul 2014 06:09
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2014 01:50
Uncontrolled Keywords: code of ethics; discursive psychology; ethical issues
Fields of Research : 18 Law and Legal Studies > 1801 Law > 180119 Law and Society
22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2201 Applied Ethics > 220107 Professional Ethics (incl. police and research ethics)
17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences

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