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  • Clare O'Brien

CONFIDENTIALITY – THE CORNERSTONE OF COUNSELLING

Confidence is key in counselling

Have you ever watched The Jeremy Kyle Show? Maybe you’ve been home sick from work and switched on the TV for some distraction. This is a chat show where guests divulge deeply personal and sensitive information to Jeremy and the audience in the hope of getting help with a particular issue. At times this is carried out with aggressive questioning and taunting from the host, while the audience sit in judgement. I can hear my mother say, “There’s nothing private anymore?


For the majority of us if we are seeking help about important issues in our lives we want to do this in a safe and trusting environment usually with one other person.


When entering a counselling relationship it is of paramount importance that we feel we can trust the Counsellor with our private thoughts and feelings. There are many different approaches used within counselling such as, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Solution Focused, Psychodynamic, Gestalt Psychoanalytical, Behaviour and Humanistic. Whatever approach you choose you have to be able to trust your Counsellor.


If trust exists between you and your Counsellor this enables you to be honest with all aspects of yourself, even the ones you don’t like. You can speak freely knowing what you say will be treat with respect and received without judgement. If you can’t trust your Counsellor to maintain confidentiality, counselling is likely to be ineffective. It is always an honour when someone shares themselves with us. It’s important I never forget that.


As a member of the BACP I adhere to an ethical framework. There are two reasons why I may need to break confidentiality, this is when a client may be at serious risk of harm to themselves or to others.


Can you think of a time when someone broke your confidence?


What consequences did this have on the relationship?


For two minutes think of someone you trust. What emotions do those thoughts stir? Please feel free to leave any comments below.

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