PSY570 Southern New Informed Consent and Confidentiality in Children Discussion

PSY570 Southern New Informed Consent and Confidentiality in Children Discussion

Define informed consent based on what you have learned from your readings. Think about your chosen field in psychology (My chosen field of psychology is Child Development). How do professionals in your field establish informed consent documents or agreements with those they serve?

How does confidentiality relate to informed consent, and what are some legal exceptions to confidentiality? In your chosen field, identify an example of an ethical dilemma that could arise from issues of confidentiality.

To complete this assignment, review the Discussion Rubric document (attached).



According to our text informed consent is the process of obtaining consent from an individual who is both physically and mentally able to give consent, and has been given a full explanation of what they are consenting to, in terms that they can understand. Informed consent is a combination of privacy or the “basic entitlement of people to decide how much of their thoughts, feelings, and personal data to share with others,” confidentiality, and privilege (Koocher & Keith-Spiegel, 2016).

In both my current work as a Treatment Plan Coordinator and my career goal as a BCBA, my work is and will be with children. In these cases it is necessary to obtain informed consent from the client’s parent or legal guardian prior to starting treatment. In my current position we must obtain consent not only prior to starting treatment, but also prior to conducting our Comprehensive Assessment, which informs the client’s individualized treatment plan. I do sometimes work on plans for children who are over age 14, but are not yet their own legal guardians. In these scenarios we are required to include the client in creating the initial treatment plan, and also in the reviews that are conducted every 90 days.

Confidentiality is an important part of informed consent, as clients are providing consent with the knowledge that their information is confidential. However, there are some circumstances when confidentiality can and must be broken. The most common circumstance where a psychology professional would break confidentiality is if a client disclosed intent to harm themselves, or someone else. Another instance where confidentiality would be broken is if a client disclosed their involvement in past offenses that were serious enough to be reported to authorities.

In my chosen field a common example of an ethical dilemma that could arise surrounding confidentiality would be if a report needed to be made t DHHS regarding a child’s well-being. An example of this may be a client disclosing information during a session, or presenting to a session with signs that were indicative of child abuse or neglect. In this situation it would be the professional’s responsibility to report what they had witnessed, which could potentially break the client’s confidentiality.

Koocher, G. P., & Keith-Spiegel, P. (2016). Ethics in Psychology and the Mental Health Professions: Standards and Cases Fourth Edition. New York: Oxford University Press.


Informed consent is a form of verbal and written communication given to a person prior to receiving services from a doctor or psychologist. In the field of child and adolescent development, parents or guardian will need to sign consent on behalf of the minor. However, in some states minors can seek mental treatment without the consent of an adult. Confidentiality and informed consent goes hand in hand. If the client consent is violated the psychologist will break confidentiality. On example of a legal exception to confidentiality is if an individual wants to cause harm to themselves or others.

Confidentiality is an ethical standard that requires a professional to protect and secure the clients’ information. An ethical dilemma that could arise from issues in confidentiality is informing the guardian of what was said in the therapy session. For example, a 16 year old client stated they don’t want his parent to know what was said in the session. As stated previously depending on the stated the client that are minor in some states has the right to refuse treatment. Usually, the Parent or guardian may ask the psychologist about their child personal issues. The best option is to try to encourage the client to discuss these issues to their parents. This situation places the professional in a rough position. However, the psychologist will have to make the right decision for the client.