Maintaining Confidentiality In The Age Of Public Access

In the digital age, where technology is more of a requirement than an option, counselors are often faced with the challenge of knowing how to effectively manage boundaries. The following case study will help students understand real-life challenges that counselors often face regarding boundaries and technologies.

Case Study:

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Latisha is a 32-year-old African American doctoral student in a small, rural university. As part of her doctoral studies, she serves as a supervisor for students doing their master’s in counseling internship. One of her supervisees, Emma, is working with adolescent girls during her internship and has been assigned four clients she sees twice a week. Latisha is Facebook friends with several classmates and former supervisees but has avoided friending current supervisees, explaining this policy in her professional disclosure statement.

One weekend, she notices a Facebook exchange between a classmate and Emma whose page is public and visible. Latisha views Emma’s Facebook page where she discovers Emma has friended the mother of a client and the two have discussed the client through various posts. Emma’s client Jenn is a 15-year-old female who is the subject of a bitter custody dispute. Latisha is aware that Jenn has a 19-year-old African American boyfriend, and the two are sexually active, which conflicts with the mother’s fundamental Christian values. Latisha now realizes the mother is a member of her own church.

The next day, while attending church, Latisha is approached by the mother who states that she knows Latisha is Emma’s internship supervisor and proceeds to lay out the details of her pending divorce and custody issues. The parent mentions she intends to subpoena Emma and her records as part of the divorce litigation and wants her to testify to Jenn’s placement and well-being.

Tasks:

Using an ethical decision-making model, outline your response to this situation. Outline the proposed action(s) you would take in this case, providing justification for the proposed action(s) and a description of the decision-making model used to arrive at that decision. Your decision-making model should be one that has been discussed in the professional literature, and after explaining the model, you will need to offer a rationale regarding why you chose to apply that particular model to the case study. Remember:

You should be sure to cite appropriate literature and must give proper credit to authors of any decision-making models used to analyze the case.
Do not simply list the steps of the model; apply the steps and be sure to document and defend your courses of action and your final decision.
Cite all appropriate professional standards and relevant laws. Regardless of the model chosen, you need to clearly identify, describe, and evaluate what ethical codes and laws were violated. Be specific—use mental health statutes and specific ethical codes that apply.
Discuss in detail what actions you would take as you proceed through the steps of your chosen ethical decision-making model, each of the steps should take at least a paragraph (or more) to address. You may (and are encouraged to) respond in an outline form (i.e., develop a response to each ethical decision-making step); however, do not simply list the steps of the model but integrate them into a complete answer.

Your answer should be at a minimum approximately 300 words.

Support your discussion with resources from professional literature in your response. Professional literature may include the Argosy University online library resources; relevant textbooks; peer-reviewed journal articles; and websites created by professional organizations, agencies, or institutions (.edu or .gov).

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