Ethical Vignette

Ethical Vignette

Ethical Vignette Paper 1

Confidentiality and Duty to Warn

Spring 2016

Kimberly Bledsoe


In the podcast Duty to Warn, the licensed therapist and his colleague who is a licensed therapist and lawyer discuss the relevance and importance of the Tarasoff Case in California and similar cases in the state of Washington and California. The discussion is centered on the exceptions to confidentiality, liability and the duty to warn or protect in the client-therapist relationship. Three different cases were presented that dealt with a therapist’s role and responsibility in protecting the public, and / or the client from harm. In addition to my response to the podcast, this paper will also reference the rules and regulations of confidentiality, duty to warn, privilege and ethics in the state of Virginia and the American Counseling Association (ACA). I will also summarize my reflection of the podcast and how I will apply this knowledge into practice.

Keywords: confidentiality, privacy, Tarsasoff, ethics, duty to warn.

The first case discussed in the podcast is the landmark case of Tarasoff v Board of Regents of the University of California. This case was about a student that voluntarily sought out counseling services as an outpatient, and during counseling sessions revealed that he intended to kill a young woman who was traveling in Brazil. The counselor / therapist called the police and relayed the threats. The young man was questioned, but presented as rational, and he also stated that he was going to leave the young woman alone. The family was not notified of the threat. The client (young man), followed through on this threats when the young woman returned to campus. The parents sued the Board of Regents at the University of California for not contacting or notifying the family of the potential threat of harm. The second case...

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