Psychologists' beliefs concerning confidentiality with suicide, homicide, and child abuse

American Journal of Psychotherapy
M H ThelenP Sprengelmeyer


A large number of psychologists from the Division of Psychotherapy and the Division of Psychologists in Practice were surveyed to determine their attitudes about confidentiality. It was found that psychologists reference their personal code to a considerable extent when making decisions about breaching confidentiality and when providing information to their clients about confidentiality. Approximately one-fourth of the respondents believed in absolute confidentiality. These respondents were found to differ from those respondents who did not believe in confidentiality with respect to their actions as therapists, their beliefs about the effects of informing clients concerning limits of confidentiality, and their actually breaching of confidentiality. The two groups differed much less with reference to items that assessed knowledge of matters pertaining to confidentiality, as well as information afforded their clients. Possible stress and conflict experienced by those believing in absolute confidentiality, in light of legal and APA mandates, is discussed along with the need for future research.


May 31, 2007·Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry·Jacinta O A TanAnne Stewart

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