Confidentiality is important to gaining and honouring a client’s trust. It is a critical aspect of the therapeutic relationship. It is acknowledged that a breach of confidentiality may be detrimental to the wellbeing of a client.
All clients have a right to confidentiality under Privacy Laws
- Clients have a right to expect that who they are and what they say in therapy is treated with respect and confidentiality.
- Information obtained from clients in the course of therapy, either directly or by inference, will remain confidential during and upon conclusion of treatment, extending post death.
- Please note that minors also have a right to confidentiality, even when parents or guardians have provided written consent and incur the financial expense.
- Employees also have a right to confidentiality when their workplace organisation incurs the expense. Workplaces are entitled to know that the services paid for have been utilised.
Protecting your information
Reasonable precautions will be taken to protect the following information against loss; against unauthorised access, use, modification or disclosure; and against other misuse:
- Client contact details.
- Records of appointments.
- Any and all identifying features of a client, for example, their name, workplace, physical appearance, and life history.
- Any records of therapeutic work that include personal details of clients. This includes verbal, written, visual, recorded or computerised records.
- If required, client records will also be disposed of in a confidential manner.
Informed consent, generally in writing, will be gained from clients for the following:
- Collection of all client data.
- Using therapeutic case material (anonymously and with minimum detail) in publications and pamphlets, and for discussion among other practitioners for the sole purpose of professional development.
- The conduct of The LifeLine Technique® process, as muscle reflex testing requires physical contact.
- If a client is unable to provide informed consent due to, for example, age, medical condition or psychological state, it will be obtained from a legal guardian.
- Minors (16 years and under) must be accompanied for treatment by a parent or guardian, or with written permission for such treatment from their parent or guardian.
Mandatory Reporting and Common Law
Some situations may give rise to exceptions to confidentiality.
In NSW, mandatory reporting is required when, during the course of a practitioner’s work, there are reasonable grounds to suspect that a child (up to and including the age of 15) is at risk of significant harm. This includes: physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional/ psychological abuse, neglect, and/or exposure to family violence.
This is in accordance with Sections 23 and 27 of the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 (NSW). For more information, please refer to the Community Services, Department of Human Services NSW website: www.community.nsw.gov.au
For a summary document on mandatory reporting in all Australian states and territories, please refer to the National Child Protection Clearinghouse Resource Sheet: https://www.aifs.gov.au/nch/pubs/sheets/rs3/rs3.pdf
Under Common Law, practitioners must report to the appropriate authorities if they deem there to be a real and imminent risk of significant harm to the client (potentially self-inflicted), to others, or to the practitioner.
*Practitioners must not disclose information about the criminal acts of clients unless there is an overriding and unequivocal legal obligation to do so.
- The client’s health and wellbeing is the overriding concern with respect to any breach of confidentiality.
- Prior to disclosure, practitioners will make every effort to seek the client’s permission. They will also consult with a supervisor, senior colleague, or gain specialist legal advice before acting.
- Practitioners will make every effort to restrict disclosure to individuals with a legitimate ‘need to know’ and to those people who may be of direct assistance to the client in the particular circumstance of risk.