Confidentiality is both a legal and an ethical obligation for psychologists not to disclose anything learned in a professional or scientific relationship with individuals or organizations with whom they work. In a psychotherapy relationship, the rationale is that unless clients understand that what they tell their therapist will be held in confidence, they will not be able to trust their therapist—and trust is fundamental to the therapy relationship. In fact, some believe that psychotherapy does not work without a guarantee of confidentiality, whereas others acknowledge that a complete guarantee of confidentiality is not possible and that this must be made clear to the client at the beginning of therapy.

This discussion begins with the basis of confidentiality in ethics and law and proceeds to various aspects ...

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