Resources & References

An Online Course:
Confidentiality in Psychotherapy and Counseling


General Resources

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Tarasoff Updates


Reporting Past Abuse

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Internet, Telemental Health, and Digital Confidentiality

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Confidentiality and HIV/AIDS

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Confidentiality Updates

2017: California Psychological Association. Risk Adjustment Audits: Updated Guidance for Responding to Requests for Records CPA & APA Practice Organization, Office of Legal and Regulatory Affairs

2016: Regulatory CA Boards and Confidentiality

2010: Internet and Digital Considerations
Recent development in telehealth and online social networking have presented new and highly complex challenges to practitioners in regard to confidentiality and privacy issues. You can find information on this topic at or in our online course for CE credit on Digital Ethics.

2010: APA Highlights Collaboration with CPA In Court Victory Protecting Confidentiality In Psychotherapy
In Marquez v Garcia CPA and APA urged the California Court of Appeals to reverse a lower court decision that directed both the disclosure of a psychologist’s records at the Betty Ford Center as well as the deposition of the psychologist. The brief emphasized that confidentiality was the foundation of effective psychotherapy because the treatment depends upon patients’ comfort in being completely candid in discussing the most intimate details of their lives. The brief also highlighted that the lower court’s decision violated the very strong California law protecting patients’ confidentiality in the treatment received from a psychologist. The APA article quoted your Editor who cited the defendant’s attorneys who were forthright in stating that the authority of brief provided by CPA and APA was a critical factor in the Appeals Court decision which overturned the lower court’s decision and upheld the law protecting the confidentiality of the patient during psychotherapy. Source: Progress Notes, CPA, 2010.

2009: New Laws in California Against ‘Snooping’: AB211 & SB541
Hospital and psychotherapists in private practice could see stiff penalties for privacy breaches under two new California states laws. Two new state medical privacy laws, AB211 and SB541, make it possible for institutions and individuals to be fined up to $250,000 for being lax when it comes to the medical privacy of California residents. These laws are partly a result of privacy breaches of several high-profile celebrities, such as singer Britney Spears and California First Lady Maria Shriver. Hospitals and other covered entities in California may have to beef up their privacy and security compliance programs in light of recently enacted state legislation that slaps stiffer penalties on entities and employees who violate patient privacy.

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American Psychological Association. Understanding confidentiality.

Anderson, S. M., & Muñoz Proto, C. (2016). Ethical requirements and responsibilities in video methodologies: Considering confidentiality and representation in social justice research. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 10: 377–389. doi: 10.1111/spc3.12259.

Anestis, M. D., & Green, B. A. (2015). The impact of varying levels of confidentiality on disclosure of suicidal thoughts in a sample of United States National Guard personnel. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 71, 1023–1030. doi:10.1002/jclp.22198

Behnke, S. (2014). Disclosing confidential information. Monitor in Psychology, 45/4

Bersoff, D. N. (2014). Protecting victims of violent patients while protecting confidentiality. American Psychologist, 69(5), 461-467.

Bond, T. & Mitchels, B. (2014). Confidentiality & Record Keeping in Counselling & Psychotherapy: Legal Resources Counsellors & Psychotherapists. London, Sage Pub.

Borkoskya, B., & Smit, D. M. (2015). The risks and benefits of disclosing psychotherapy records to the legal system: What psychologists and patients need to know for informed consent. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 42-43, 19–30.

Ciliberti, R., Alfano, L., Rocca, G., & Bandini, T. (2016). The working alliance in psychotherapy: Risk, criticism and perspectives in the Italian context. Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, 1-6.

Cordess, C, (Ed.) . (2001). Confidentiality and Mental Health. Jessica Kingsley Publishers

Dickson, D. T. (1998). Confidentiality and Privacy in Social Work: A Guide to the Law for Practitioners and Students. Simon and Schuster

Drogin, E. Y. & Armontrout, A. (2017) Record Keeping in Private Practice. In Walfish, S., Barnett, J. E. Zimmerman. Handbook of Private Practice: Keys to Success for Mental Health Practitioners. Oxford University Press. doi:

Elgera, B. S., Handtke, V., & Wangmoa, T., (2015). Informing patients about limits to confidentiality: A qualitative study in prisons. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 41, 50-57. doi:10.1016/j.ijlp.2015.03.007

Fisher, M. A. (2016). Confidentiality limits in psychotherapy: Ethics checklists for mental health professionals. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Groshong, L., & Phillips, D. (2015). The impact of electronic communication on confidentiality in clinical social work practice. Clinical Social Work Journal, 43(2), 142-150. doi:10.1007/s10615-015-0527-4

Herbert, S. D., Harvey, E. A., & Halgin, R. P. (2015). The balancing act—Ethical issues in parent training research: Confidentiality, harm reduction, and methodology. Ethics & Behavior, 25(3), 222-232. doi: 10.1080/10508422.2014.928777

Hertlein, K. M., Blumer M. L. C, & Mihaloliakos, J. H. (2014). Marriage and family counselors’ perceived ethical issues related to online therapy. The Family Journal, 23(1), 5-12.

Hooley, I. (2016). Ethical considerations for psychotherapy in natural settings. Ecopsychology, 8(4), 215-221. doi:10.1089/eco.2016.0008.

Lesley, R.S. (2017). Privilege and Confidentiality – A Deeper Look . Avoiding Liability Bulletin. CPH & Associate

Mosher, P. W., & Berman, J. (2015). Confidentiality and its discontents: Dilemmas of privacy in psychotherapy. New York, NY: Fordham University Press.

Munoz, M. T., Olivari C., Sorum, P. C., & Mullet, E. (2014). Minors’ and adults’ views about confidentiality. Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies, 9(2), 97-103.

Olivari, C., Munoz, M. T., Sorum, P. C., & Mullet, E. (2015). Is it acceptable for a psychologist to break a young client’s confidentiality? Comparing Latin American (Chilean) and Western European (French) viewpoints. Universitas Psychologica, 14(1), 231-244.

Rodriguez, M. A., Fang, C. M., Goa, J., Robins, C., & Rosenthal, M. Z., (2016). Perceptions of the limitations of confidentiality among Chinese mental health therapists, adolescents and their parents. Ethics & Behavior, 26, 344-356. doi:10.1080/10508422.2015.1038748

Ross, D. B., Gale, J., & Goetz, J. (2016). Ethical issues and decision making in collaborative financial therapy. Journal of Financial Therapy, 7(1), 3.

Thomas-Anttila, K. (2015), Confidentiality and consent issues in psychotherapy case reports: The wolf man, Gloria and Jeremy. British Journal of Psychotherapy, 31, 360–375. doi:10.1111/bjp.12157

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