Walking a tightrope: A balancing act by school counsellors
Pizzini, Nigel; Gremillion, Helen; Newman, T.; Shaw, Kristi Lee
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Citation:Pizzini, N., Gremillion, H., & Newman, T. (2021). Walking a tightrope: A balancing act by school counsellors. New Zealand Journal of Counselling, 41(1), 45-58.
Permanent link to Research Bank record:https://hdl.handle.net/10652/5482
When clients report harm or abuse to a counsellor and the threshold of “imminent harm” is not met, the counsellor faces potentially competing ethical imperatives. While reporting or informing others can bring safety, it can also harm relationships, including the therapeutic alliance. Focussing on the context of school counselling, this article makes a case for the relative autonomy of counsellors if they wish to consult with other professionals to help clarify their ethical, moral, and legal obligations. We argue that counsellors need not inform clients that such consultation has occurred. In addition, this article explores language that preserves the therapeutic relationship and advocates for a collaborative response to harm reduction that wherever possible prioritises client choice and agency around matters of disclosure.