Date: 13 April 2021
The purpose of this disclosure statement is to provide transparency around the client-practitioner relationship.
It is hoped that this document sufficiently provides full transparency around (a) exceptions to confidentiality within my scope of practice, (b) claims to who I am (identity claims) and what I do, and (c) professional organizations to which I choose not to subscribe.
Understanding of these disclosures is a mandatory step at the time you enter into a client-practitioner relationship with me. Signing means you understand these disclosures.
Consent to Disclose Confidential Information
Clients can rely on me to maintain confidentiality regarding our work together. What is said in the room, remains in the room. However, there are some exceptions.
Exception Issues in Confidentiality
- I attend supervision where I consult with my supervisor, a therapist (with current membership in the NZAC) who acts in a supervisory role. Her role is to ensure my clients (that’s you and your partner) are safe and professionally attended to. I don’t mention your names to my supervisor. Just your situation and couple or family situation. She is required to keep this ‘client information’ confidential too. So your name will not be mentioned and she will make sure I am attending to all your needs within my role, professionally, ethically and in terms of your safety and the safety of your family. So I share details, but not names, with her.
- In the situation where the client(s) is referred by an organization who is funding the session, disclosure to the social worker and their parent organization is done with your consent (the client’s consent) at the time you engage my services and enter into a practitioner-client agreement.
- When abuse or neglect of a child, dependent adult, or developmentally disabled person is present, this will be reported to ensure the safety of all involved.
- Others will be informed if you (the client) threatens either harm to others or self harm. If that threat is perceived to be serious, the proper individuals must be contacted. This may include the individual against whom the threat is made.
- In the event of a court order, I may be required to disclose information in the presence of a judge.
- Information which may jeopardize my safety will not be kept confidential. I need to be safe too.
- In the event of a medical emergency during the session, emergency personnel may be given necessary information to do their job to ensure your wellbeing.
- If you bring a complaint against me with the courts or police, Department of Health, or any organization, information will be released that may include information otherwise kept confidential within the session.
- In the event of the client’s death or disability, the information may be released if the client’s personal representative or the beneficiary of an insurance policy on the client’s life signs a release authorizing disclosure.
As I take a narrative approach in the work which I do, I identify many things as being separate from me. This is referred to by Michael White, who pioneered the work around the narrative approach, as externalizing language. Externalizing conversations are a hallmark of narrative therapy, an approach to which I subscribe.
One important area which I externalize and create great relational space between, is myself and the work I do. A Claim to my identity can be seen to be a claim to who I am. This can be seen as a ‘claim to identity’ or an ‘identity claim’.
An identity claim can be the claim to be of a particular profession, role, function, membership, or identity of any kind. For example: A person may claim to be a Father (relationship identity claim) or a plumber (professional identity claim).
I make only four identity claims. I am a father, a son, a brother, and a husband (four relational claims to identity). I make no other identity claims. This means I do not claim to be anything else other than these four things.
Although I subscribe to membership in RI (Resolution Institute) and iAMFT (International Association of Marriage and Family Counselors), I say that ‘I subscribe to membership’ rather than claiming to ‘be a member’.
I choose to say “I work with couples and relationships” instead of making a professional identity claim. I make no professional identity claims at all.
Rather than claim to provide therapy, I prefer to frame any therapeutic outcome as being a result of the work I do. The work I do is separate from who I am. I am not what I do. Or, I do not claim to be, what I do.
I describe the work I do as being separate from me, so I do not claim to be a counsellor, or a therapist. Instead, I put relational space between me and the work I do with couples and relationships. Although some of the work I do is done by Family Counsellors, I do not do the work of family counsellors, neither do I offer therapy. I also do not do any mental health work. I hold to certain values, I am drawn to certain approaches and I subscribe to particular ways of thinking.
I claim relational space between me and my role, my title, any services being offered or thought to be offered, domain names, keywords used in search engine marketing and any other possible scenario where words used can be seen to be a claim to identity.
Perhaps this can be seen to be the natural outcome of a narrative approach to which I subscribe.
Nevertheless, perhaps you could describe my work as that of teaching or coaching in the area of couple communication, and not family counselling.
Unfortunately, and unavoidably, internet search engines (including Google) and internet based advertising platforms (including FaceBook categories, GoogleAds, GoogleMyBusiness and GoogleMaps), use broad keyword based classifications that can be seen to classify my listing under counselors [sic] or counsellors or claim other identities for me which can be seen to be incongruent with the content on my website. Disregard such views. Instead I invite you to see these as the way my practice is integrated into ill-fitting systems. Choose to see my practice and any claims around it as on my website over which I have much more control.
This section specifically discloses professional organizations to which I do not subscribe. I do not subscribe to NZAC or NZCCA.
I subscribe to membership in RI (Resolution Institute) and iAMFC (International Association of Marriage and Family Counselors).
It is hoped that this document sufficiently provides total transparency around (a) exceptions to confidentiality within my scope of practice, (b) claims to who I am (identity claims) and what I do, and (c) professional organizations to which I choose not to subscribe.
Understanding of these disclosures is essential for you as a client upon entering into a client-practitioner relationship with me.