Confidentiality: Groups and Minors

Learning how to manage confidentiality with groups is a challenging task for counselors. However, working with special populations is an even bigger challenge for counselors. In the following case study, you will learn not only about the challenge of confidentiality in groups but also about working with minors when breaches of confidentially may be needed.
Case Study:
You have been contracted by a local school district to conduct a counseling group for a group of high school girls who have been labeled “at risk.” During one session, the group members begin discussing their sexual activities.
One of the group members, a 14-year-old girl, discloses she has been dating her boyfriend for 4 months and they are sexually active. After some discussion, she sheepishly admits they do not use protection when sexually active and she suspects her boyfriend may have passed on to her a sexually transmitted disease. Her boyfriend has been her first and only sexual partner.
However, she excitedly states they are in love and plan to get married someday. She also says she is afraid of her parents finding out because she thinks they would be so mad that they would kick her out. Later in the session, this group member adds that her boyfriend is 18 years old.
Tasks:
Using the ethical decision-making model, outline your response to this situation. Be specific. You may respond (and are encouraged to respond) in an outline form (i.e., develop a response to each ethical decision-making step):
As part of the specific steps involved in your ethical decision-making process, identify the following in a minimum of 300 words:
The specific elements and process of informed consent for this situation (e.g., disclosing limits of confidentiality, theoretical approaches, duty to warn, etc.).
The manner in which you would ensure informed consent was appropriately obtained.
Your ethical obligations to the community and society (on the basis of the state in which you are located) and the implications of these ethical requirements (e.g., mandated reporting requirements).
Finally, discuss your reflections upon your “personal ethical evolution” during this term (i.e., thoughtfully examine how your perspectives about ethics have changed, evolved, been enhanced, etc.).
Reflect upon what additional information and/or experiences you will pursue to continue refining your ethical decision-making ability and ethical practice.
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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