Counseling: An Ethical Dilemma with HIV/AIDS Essay

Counseling: An Ethical Dilemma with HIV/AIDS Essay

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In the counseling field, it is necessary for clients to trust the therapist and be able to disclose sensitive information about themselves. Many times when a person is coming in for counseling the individual is vulnerable and looking to improve the quality of life. This is the reason why confidentiality is highly important in therapy. It is an essential piece that helps to create a rapport and relationship between the client and therapist. One area in which it is extremely important to explore confidentiality is when clients have HIV/AIDS and there is a third party involved. The HIV/AIDS epidemic has presented an ethical dilemma for many counselors in knowing how to approach decision-making processes in situations encountered within this population (Cottone & Tarvydas, 2007).

Confidentiality is “the obligation of professionals to respect the privacy of clients and the information they provide” (Cottone & Tarvydas, 2007, p. 31). There are ethical principles that promote the concept of confidentiality universally in both professional code of ethics and legal standards. Legal confidentiality prohibits the counselors discussing private information discussed in sessions to individuals outside the organization. Professional associations cannot necessarily provide legal confidentiality, however the professional association can revoke memberships (Cottone & Tarvydas, 2007).

The American Counseling Association states the following regarding contagious, life-threatening diseases, “When clients disclose that they have a disease commonly known to be both communicable and life threatening, counselors may be justified in disclosing information to identifiable third parties, if they are known to be at demonstrable and high risk of contract...


... middle of paper ...


...ote the most ethical, beneficial outcome and care for the client and the others involved.




Works Cited

Chenneville, T. (2000). HIV, confidentiality, and duty to protect: a decisions-making model. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 31(6), 661-670. doi: 10.1037/0735-7028.31.6.661

Cottone, R. R., & Tarvydas, V. M. (2007). Counseling ethics and decision making. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall

DiMarco, M., & Zoline, S. S. (2004). Duty to warn in the context of HIV/AIDS related psychotherapy: decision making among psychologists. Counseling and Clinical Psychology Journal, 1(2), 68-85. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database.

Rowan, J., & Zinaich S. (2003). Ethics for the professions. Belmont, California: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Shallcross, L. (2011). Do the right thing. Counseling Today, 53(10), 28-34.

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