Confidentiality for Mental Health Professionals: A Guide to Ethical and Legal Principles

Confidentiality for Mental Health Professionals: A Guide to Ethical and Legal Principles


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Those who work in the mental health sector are constantly exposed to personal information about the experiences, behaviour and relationships of their clients. It is therefore unsurprising that mental health professionals will sometimes need to consider whether they are ethically or legally obliged to disclose certain information to third parties. Yet how is this done? In what circumstances is a therapist, counsellor, or nurse obliged to disclose confidential information and to whom? A profession's codes of ethics or a legal text is rarely able to provide meaningful practical guidance. The authors, experienced professionals in law and mental health, have focused on the actual decision-making process of disclosing confidential information to allow mental health professionals to find a solution that is ethically and legally sound and able to be recognised as such by external authorities. The book is relevant to a wide range of professionals working in the mental health sector such as psychologists, social workers, counsellors, mental health nurses, occupational therapists, psychiatrists, and students.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781921513428
Publisher: Australian Academic Press
Publication date: 11/01/2009
Edition description: General
Pages: 142
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.20(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Annegret Kåmpf is a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Law, Monash University and a researcher involved with two projects funded by the Australian Research Council. She is a qualified lawyer and graduated from Mannheim University, Germany. She also has a Master of Bioethics and Health Law from Otago University, New Zealand where she worked as a Research Fellow investigating international approaches to incapacity principles in mental health care.

Bernadette McSherry is an Australian Research Council Federation Fellow and professor of Law at Monash University. She has honours degrees in Arts and Law and Masters of Law from the University of Melbourne, a PhD from York University, Canada, and a graduate Diploma in Psychology from Monash University. Professor McSherry has written extensively in the areas of mental health law and criminal law.

James Ogloff is Professor of Clinical Forensic Psychology at Monash University and the Director of Psychological Services as the Victorian Institute of Forensic mental health. Professor Ogloff is a Fellow of the Canadian, American, and Australian psychological societies and has worked in the field of clinical and forensic psychology in a variety of settings, including jails, prisons, forensic psychiatric clinics and hospitals since 1984. He has published 12 books and more than 160 scholarly articles and book chapters.

Alan Rothschild is a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of Victoria who holds a Master of Laws degree from the University of Melbourne and a PhD from Monash University. He has written extensively in the area of medico/legal issues and is currently a sessional researcher at Monash University.

Table of Contents


The Concept of Confidentiality

The Ethical Framework for Confidentiality

Codes of Ethics

The Legal Framework for Protecting Confidentiality

Common Law Exceptions and Limitations to Maintaining Confidentiality

Statutory Schemes

Ethical Decision-Making in Confidentiality Dilemmas

Quick Guides

Table of Cases

Table of Statutes



What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

This book explores in a lively and accessible way the clinical, legal, and ethical dimensions to the modern notion of confidentiality in the mental healthcare environment, providing both guidance and clarity in this fraught and important aspect of practice. — Professor Ian Freckelton SC, Victorian Bar and Monash University

This guide is exemplary in its succinctness and focus. — Professor Sidney Bloch, Department of Psychiatry and Centre for Health and Society, University of Melbourne

Mental health practitioners and students in Australia will find this book to be a very useful asset. — Professor Alfred Allan, School of Psychology and Social Science, Edith Cowan University

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