Confidentiality Issue Case Study
Counselling is a professional activity, which can be harmful if
correct procedures are not followed. Counsellors are dedicated to
respecting the rights of those persons seeking their assistance. They
must know their rights. It is part of the counsellor’s responsibility
to encourage clients to take responsibility themselves.
Confidentiality is an ethical issue, which involves keeping the
client’s personal information to yourself. Few clients will want to
share private information if they know that it will be made public.
Therefore a positive regard will be seriously hampered if the client
suspects that the information shared will be made public.
Domestic violence is a crime and according to Zimbabwean law, no
person is allowed to assault another. In this discussion we will state
how a junior officer in the army would help the major general’s wife
who is subjected to domestic violence. We will also look at
confidentiality as a complex issue, which can be affected by the law
and ethics. We will discuss the extent that the principle of
confidentiality can be applied. We also talk about what to do when
faced by dilemmas, what action to take and how to handle those
Definition of terms
ð ZOU Module CD 103 (2004:161) states that it involves keeping the
client’s personal information to self (the counsellor).
ð ZOU Module CD 104 (2000:19) says it is providing the client with
safety and privacy.
ð Welfel (1998) cited by ZOU Module CD 104 (2000:26) defines
confidentiality as the counsellor’s ethical obligation to keep the
client’s identity and all counselling disclosures private.
ð ZOU Module CD 104 (2000:2) refers Ethics to clearly defined
behaviour expectation and practice guidelines.
ð ZOU Module CD 104 (2000:12) say ethics are the guidelines that
provide directions for conduct.
ð ZOU Module CD 103 (2004:152 & 163) say ethics refers to rules which
help counsellors in deciding which behaviour is right or wrong in a
ð Hansen, Rossberg and Cramer (1994:361) cited by ZOU Module CD 104
(2000:6) define ethics as moral philosophy that deals with making
judgements, good or bad, proper or improper, approval or disapproval,
right or wrong.
ð applies to any woman/man who is beaten or physically abused by a
man/woman he/she lives with, or with whom she/he has a close
Law is created by legislature. It does not dictate what is ethical in
a given behaviour but rather what is legal. A legal behaviour may be
unethical or immoral from the views of some members of the society.
Laws vary from country to country but ethical codes generally apply to