Research Paper #1
Confidentiality is one of the ethical imperatives that is held in
the highest regard by psychologists and clients. Safeguarding
information disclosed to psychologists during the course of a
professional relationship is something both clients and psychologists
alike expect. It is a fundamental building block of the trust needed
between psychologist and client. This expectation crosses many types of
psychological interventions, including (but not limited to)
interpersonal therapy; assessment of children, individuals, and
couples; and research with human subjects. Confidentiality is expected
in both public and private professional settings and interactions.
Despite such protections of confidential client information, there
has been a persistent weakening of these same rights, especially
subsequent to the September 11, 2001 destruction of the World Trade
Center towers in New York City. The passion for privacy needed to be
balanced by the right to protect one’s homeland and life (Safire, 2004,
p. A27). Safire observed that patients could no longer expect that
their mental health histories would remain confidential. This, however,
was true prior to September 11, 2001. Clients have long been forced to
waive their right to privacy when utilizing insurance to pay for their
mental health treatment, which routinely requires transmission to the
insurer of client diagnosis, prognosis, and aspects of history. There
also are other exceptions that have existed before 2001 and include the
following: the legal mandate to report both child and elder
abuse/neglect; the legal requirement to warn specified others of a
client’s intent to harm; the legal requirement to cooperate in providing
records for which a psychologist has received a court order; the
requirement to provide information to an employer who has hired a
psychologist to assess a client for “fitness for duty” or some other
reason (and similarly providing information to the courts from court
mandated assessments).
For your first research paper, you explore the significance of
confidentiality in ethics as it applies specifically to the following
case. Zora, the client in question in the case, is a member of the
Thompson family presented in the Week 1 media.
Zora is a 14-year-old, multi-ethnic (African American, Columbian,
and Mexican) female who appears older than her stated age. She is
abusing marijuana, Percocet, and Oxycontin. In defiance of her parents,
she is dating Caucasian college-age boys (which her parents do not
know about) and has become pregnant. She seeks counseling at a clinic
for teenagers to think through how she wants to proceed. She is unsure
if she wants to get an abortion, have the baby and give it up for
adoption, or have the baby and join the “pregnant and parenting”
services at her school. She hopes to gain clarity about what she wants
before she possibly involves her family. The psychologist whom she sees
at the clinic is a middle aged, Caucasian woman who is Catholic and
who feels conflicted about counseling a 14-year-old who is considering
an abortion. The psychologist seeks peer supervision to help her decide
how she should ethically proceed. In the peer supervision group is an
African American psychologist who happens to know Zora and her family,
and figures out from the psychologist’s description that the client is
Zora. She is shocked that Zora is pregnant and is very concerned. She
wants to talk with Zora, but Zora is not her client and this
information was relayed in peer supervision, which is a confidential
setting. This psychologist is a close friend of Zora’s mother. She feels
extremely conflicted as to what she should ethically do.
To prepare for this Assignment, consider the significance of
confidentiality to the above case as you explore the conflicting
ethical considerations at play. Consider how your own feelings,
beliefs, attitudes, and cultural perspectives might influence how you
conceptualize this case and include a brief self reflection on this in
your paper.
The Assignment (3–5 pages)
Explain the significance of confidentiality in ethical psychological practice, as it applies to the case above.Explain how your feelings, beliefs, attitudes, and cultural perspectives might influence how you conceptualize this case.Support your explanation with at least two peer-reviewed journal
articles on confidentiality from the Learning Resources to support your
points. Use correct APA-style format for your paper.ReadingsDonner, M. B., VandeCreek, L., Gonsiorek, J. C., & Fisher, C.
B. (2008). Balancing confidentiality: Protecting privacy and
protecting the public. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 39(3), 369–376.
Retrieved from the Walden Library databases. Fisher, C. B. (2008). The APA ethics code and the need for
balanced confidentiality and disclosure decisions in psychotherapy. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 39(3), 375–376.
Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.Fisher, M. A. (2008). Protecting confidentiality rights: The need for an ethical practice model. American Psychologist, 63(1), 1–13.
Retrieved from the Walden Library databases. MediaLaureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2012). Academic year in residence Thompson family case study [Interactive media]. Baltimore, MD: Author. Note: Please click on the following link for the transcript: Academic year in residence Thompson family case study transcript (PDF) (Producer). (2010). Legal and ethical issues for mental health professionals, vol. 1: Confidentiality, privilege, reporting, and duty to warn [Video]. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

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