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Staying Safe As Survivors In Our Interactions With Others…Part 11

February 15, 2010

6. Secret tellers and confidence breakers. Be very wary of anyone who breaks a confidence. You can pretty much bet if they are sharing about others with you, then they are also sharing about you with others. If someone is in any real danger, it can be valid to break a confidence. However, you need to ask yourself if you are really in a “need to know” position with the person being shared about. Is there anything you can really do? Put yourself in the shared about person’s perspective. Would you be comfortable if it was you being talked about? If not…you can pretty much bet a boundary has been crossed.

It’s bad when “friends” share confidences. It’s even worse when a professional does it. There are strict guidelines given to professionals regarding confidentiality. It is NEVER OK for a professional to share with one client about another client. It doesn’t matter if the clients are both members of the therapist’s forum or if they know each other in person. If there is no signed consent form, it is NOT OK.

I am not talking about things like…“I once had a client who had a similar problem and this is what helped him/her.” That is different. And, even in those cases, you should never have enough information to enable you to figure out who that other client is. It should always be a general sharing.

It is also not OK to post private communications without permission, even if it was written by the professional. An online therapist who has a for-pay forum openly posted something that she wrote to me in private. When confronted about it by someone else, she merely changed who it was addressed to and left it up. This was very unethical.

7. Meeting in unusual places…or uncomfortable places. I’ve heard of clients being asked to meet in a therapist’s car or in restaurants, sometimes even with other clients in the same room! This is NOT OK. One therapist I know had an office with no windows and all the other offices on that floor were unoccupied. The building itself was rather isolated and his office never did feel comfortable…and rightfully so. He accessed my alters there and used them. His office setup also made it easy to not recognize the time loss.

To be continued…

The first post in this article is here.

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