The dangers of breaching client confidentiality. As Complementary Therapists, it is our duty to keep our clients safe at all times. Not only does this apply to their health and wellbeing but also, their private information.
Questions around the topic of client confidentiality is something we see cropping up again and again. It’s easy to forget that sharing what might only be “gossip” between you and your client, with someone else – can be severely detrimental.
When we are in session, talking to our clients is completely normal. Many therapists are very good friends with their clients, so gossip and casual conversation can go on for the majority of the treatment. However, in order to maintain professional standards, therapists must respect, that by treating their client, they have entered into a contract – stating that they will respect their personal information, no matter what has been discussed.
A prime example of where therapists go wrong, is when they share their client’s information with a mutual friend. For example: A celebrity books in for a treatment. The therapist is so excited about this prospect that after the treatment, they share this information with a close friend. This friend tells their contacts and so, the news travels. Eventually, it gets to the wrong person, who adds a story the news. In no time at all, this information is now in the public eye and has a “false” story attached it. What happens now?
The therapist has breached the confidentiality code of conduct, issued by their governing body – which states they must safeguard their client’s information.
Discussing a client’s affairs with other people can damage an innocent person’s reputation and even affect their work, personal life and friendship circles. Not only is it unkind and unethical to act this way but if the therapist spoke about the wrong client candidly, they could be faced with a “slander” law suit – accusing them of damaging the client’s reputation.
If a therapist shares a client’s information with other people, the “ethical standards” of that therapist will be questioned. The public with become aware, that their private information is not safe with this therapist and may choose to go elsewhere – damaging the therapist’s business and reputation.
According to FHT, there are some exceptions to this clause; one being that if it is required by law to share the client’s information for legal, medical or public protection reasons – then the therapist can contact the appropriate professional to deal with the issue concerned. However, in all other cases, the therapist must always safeguard their client’s information.
In conclusion, breaching client confidentiality can have such devastating effects, that we must remember how importance safeguarding client information is.
To view the Brighton Holistics Data Protection Policy please click here