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Aust Psychol. 1995 Nov;30(3):175-8.

Expectations and preferences regarding confidentiality in the psychologist-client relationship.

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Department of Psychology, Swinburne University of Technology, Hawthorn VIC 3122, Australia.


Two hundred and fifty-six members of the Australian public were surveyed regarding situations in which a psychologist might breach confidentiality and third parties to whom information might be disclosed. There was strong agreement between respondents' expectations about the way in which psychologists would act, and their preferences regarding how psychologists should act. While respondents supported confidentiality within the psychotherapeutic relationship, they clearly distinguished situations in which, and third parties to whom, disclosure could appropriately occur. Disclosure was expected and preferred when a client revealed a murder (planned or confessed), suicide plans, child abuse, or treason, and where the recipients of the information were colleagues of the psychologist or parents of a client younger than 13 years. Compared to nonparents, parents more strongly supported disclosure regarding illegal drug use and child abuse, and believed that parents should have access to a child's records. In general, respondents' view of the way in which psychologists should treat confidentiality issues were consistent with the guidelines prescribed by the Australian Psychological Society in the Code of Professional Conduct (1986).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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