Ethical Good Practice
In particular, the BACP stipulates six core ethical principles for good practice, which outline my ethical responsibilities to you. They are:
- Being trustworthy: honouring the trust placed in the practitioner.
- Autonomy: respect for the client’s right to be self-governing.
- Beneficence: a commitment to promoting the client’s wellbeing.
- Non-maleficence: a commitment to avoiding harm to the client.
- Justice: the fair and impartial treatment of all clients and the provision of adequate services.
- Self-respect: fostering the practitioner’s self-knowledge, integrity and care for self.
(From Section 5 in the Ethical Framework)
I will give you what I call 95% confidentiality, which means that under most circumstances, almost all that you say to me will stay between me and you. There are two notable exceptions to this rule: firstly, I am supervised, which means that the quality of my work is monitored. I will take aspects of my client work to supervision, but not in a way that will identify you, personally. Secondly, if I have serious concerns for your welfare, or if I feel that someone with whom you are connected may be in immediate danger and if I have exhausted all other possibilities by talking the situation through with you, then I may break confidentiality at my discretion. If I feel I do need to break confidentially, I will involve you in the decision making process as much as I can. Thirdly, if you suffer a medical emergency during a session with me, I may contact the emergency services on your behalf (e.g. ambulance, paramedic). For this reason, I will need your GP details, medical history and contact details for your next of kin.
When you see me for supervision or counselling, I will ask you to complete and sign an intake form giving me permission to break confidentiality if I feel I have a reason for doing so.
Finally, please be reassured that I have only ever needed to break client confidentiality twice in all my years of practice – it really is an action of last resort.