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Privacy and Confidentiality in the Therapeutic Relationship

Section 6
Juvenile Court Philosophy, Mental Abuse, and Psychological Age

Question 6 | Answer Booklet | Table of Contents

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The best answer is A. The question was, "what should be your first response?" The possible case of abuse will need first to be verified. Once it is verified the steps outlined in BC, and D would be considered.

♦ What Should Parents Know?
Parents are legally responsible for their children, and consequently, they have a right to know about them. Under the law a person is regarded as a minor until he is eighteen, and until that time (unless he is emancipated), the parents are legally responsible for his care as well as his misdemeanors. In psychotherapy, as you know however, psychological age or the condition of the patient rather than chronological age must determine the approach the therapist will have in dealing with parents.

The requirement that a school or a psychiatrist notify the parents of all minors who consult the psychiatrist would destroy service at once. As a consequence, university health services usually treat students as though they were adults.

Records of the juvenile court are not open to public scrutiny. Under traditional juvenile court philosophy, a veil of secrecy is drawn over its proceedings and records.

These laws do not require the reporting of "mental abuse," which is much more devastating to the child. The percentage of such cases, serious in nature, can well be imagined to be multifold the number of cases of physical abuse.

- Petrila, J., J.D., L.L.M., & Fader-Towe, H., J.D. (2010). Information Sharing in Criminal Justice-Mental Health Collaborations: Working with HIPAA and Other Privacy Laws. Council of State Governments Justice Center, 1-46. Retrieved from https://www.bja.gov/Publications/CSG_CJMH_Info_Sharing.pdf..

QUESTION 6
If a woman admits during a counseling session that she is being abused by her boyfriend, the therapist is obligated to do the following:
a. Report the incident to the proper authority with or without client permission
b. Report the incident with client permission only
c. Assist the woman to become aware of services available to her in regard to the abuse 
d. Nothing is required of the therapist, it’s up to the woman to ask
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