Si fuese el fablar
Likewise when is it OK for us to share private information with a “consultant” in order to get “input”. Who and what constitutes a person being a “consultant” anyway? When might such consultancy be or lapse into more of a thin veneer for a juicy round of gossip or for effecting some unidisclosed manipulative end?
The list of questions and situations involving private communications and disclosures is seemingly endless, both in our private lives as well as in our member care work. The adage “when in doubt, don’t” is not a bad place to begin. The counter to all of this however is not to create some culture of secrecy where simply sharing news with each other is somehow hindered or viewed with suspicion.
The following material can help give us all some more clarity as member care practitioners. It is from the 2009 article, “Ethics and Human Rights in Member Care: Developing Guidelines for Good Practice” by Kelly O’Donnell
Confidentiality is a core part of the helping relationship, and a foundation for trust and good practice. It is not just a matter of member care workers (MCWs) simply being “discrete”—which can be interpreted in many different ways—and relying on one’s own “good” judgment concerning disclosures. Rather the MCW abides by a strict standard that honours the client’s rights.
Here are three confidentiality examples to consider. The third one was added to this blog entry. It is a a short prosaic piece (indicting almost all of us I'm afraid) on the common practice of ‘indulging in idle talk and rumours about others, especially the private affairs of others, often while feigning noble motives for such improprietous disclosures.’
Example One: Member Care Associates
Other types of personal struggles can significantly interfere with one's work role and/or credibility of one/s organization (e.g., abusive leadership, addictions, major depression, moral failure, serious marital conflict.) In such cases we usually encourage you to inform a leader whom you trust within your organization(s). We see such struggles as being larger than the helping relationship, and thus usually best handled with the involvement and support of others.
Note for group or debriefing services: The material shared by others during the group/debriefing sessions will be kept strictly confidential by the participants.
Example Two: American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT)
1. Discuss the nature of confidentiality to clients and any others involved in the case
Example Three: The Snake That Poisons Everybody
Even it's name hisses.
Office gossip. Shop gossip. Party gossip.
Before you repeat a story, ask yourself:
Reflection and Discussion
2. How thorough and how specific should such standards be, for different settings in which different types of member care are provided, including counselling, team meetings, or internet communications?
3. Confidentiality sometimes leads to misunderstandings. For example, it can be seen as being secretive and withholding important information from an organization about its staff. How can this be minimized?
4. Can you think of additional ways to put into personal practice the third example above, on “gossip”?
5. How might the above standards apply to protecting information in written and digital form?