Having Confidence in Doing Therapy with Teens

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Article Review: Having confidence in therapeutic work with young people: Constraints and challenges to confidentiality

jumpteenagersJenkins, P. (2010). Having confidence in therapeutic work with young people: Constraints and challenges to confidentiality. British Journal of Guidance and Counseling, 38(3), 263-274.

Confidentiality is seen to be an ethical obligation to the client and holds a central place to therapeutic practice. However, rights of children and adolescents are constrained to that of the authority of the parents. This may be detrimental and undermine the work of therapy and the therapeutic relationship. Research suggests that during treatment with adolescents’ maturation and growth of emotional autonomy is positively affected by confidentiality. Interestingly, the United States is one of few countries worldwide that mandates reporting child abuse. Confidentiality is a key ethical obligation for the therapist doing therapy with teens. From a legal perspective, confidentially is linked ethically to autonomy through case law and statue. For adolescents research suggest that keeping secrets from parents has positive effects in the development of emotional autonomy. There is great support that ethically, as well as, legally there should high levels of confidentiality for adolescents.


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