Some best practices for LPC supervisors to ensure confidentiality during supervision sessions include:
Discuss and Address Confidentiality: Supervisors must ensure that supervisees discuss confidentiality with their clients, particularly in relation to the supervisory relationship.
Informed Consent: Supervisees must receive comprehensive information about the process of supervision, including detailed information concerning the supervisory relationship. Supervisors are responsible for ensuring supervisees give their clients the same opportunity, including informed consent and confidentiality.
Limits of Confidentiality: Supervisors should clearly state the limits of confidentiality of supervision session content in all organizational contracts with training institutions and credentialing bodies.
Documentation: Supervisors must document all discussions with counselors concerning duty-to-warn and crises. Records of supervision sessions should include a summary of the supervisee’s experience, training, and learning needs, the current IDP, a summary of all performance evaluations, and notations of all supervisory sessions.
Written Agreement: Consider developing a written agreement with the supervisee, including the purpose and scope of the supervision, learning and development needs of the supervisee, and the structure of the supervision.
Examples of confidential information that should not be shared during LPC supervision sessions include:
Identifiable Information: Specific, identifiable information about a client's case should not be shared without the client's consent.
Contents of Therapy: The contents of therapy should not be discussed with a third party without the explicit permission of the client.
Voicemail or Text Messages: Revealing information should not be left on voicemail or text messages.
Acknowledging Appointments: Acknowledging to outside parties that a client has an appointment should be avoided.
Duty-to-Warn: Confidentiality may need to be waived in situations where there is a duty-to-warn, such as child abuse, suicidal or homicidal ideation.
Client Diagnosis and Treatment: Information about a client's diagnosis and treatment, including treatment planning, should not be shared without the client's consent.
Supervision Session Content: The limits of confidentiality of supervision session content should be stated in all organizational contracts with training institutions and credentialing bodies.
Common mistakes that LPC supervisors make when handling confidential information during supervision sessions include:
Dual Roles: Dual roles as both administrative and clinical supervisor can lead to lack of supervisee disclosure, without intentional effort on the part of the supervisor.
Inadequate Training: Inadequate training in supervision can lead to mistakes that jeopardize the licensure process or the well-being of clients.
Lack of Attention to Documentation: Lack of attention to substantial documentation requirements can cost supervisees long delays when pursuing licensure.
Failure to Implement Remediation Practices: Failing to implement remediation practices can further complicate confidentiality when in non-supervisory contact.
Confusing Boundary Crossing and Violation: Differentiating between a boundary crossing or violation can be challenging for new supervisors and requires decision-making skills.
Inadequate Attention to Confidentiality: Supervisors may inadvertently share confidential information, such as negative reactions to supervisors, general client observations, and clinical mistakes.
Lack of Clear Communication: Lack of clear communication with supervisees about confidentiality and informed consent can lead to misunderstandings and mistakes.
By being aware of these mistakes, LPC supervisors can take steps to avoid them and ensure that confidential information is handled appropriately during supervision sessions.