Counselling Dilemma: Confidentiality Issues with a Teenager
You work as a counsellor for an organisation that offers counselling services to the general public. The free service is aimed at community members who cannot afford counselling services otherwise. You start counselling a young man who made an appointment with the service when he saw the advertisement in the local community newspaper.
In your initial session you learn that he is 16 years old and sought counselling on his own without the knowledge of his parents. He tells you confidentiality is very important to him and he doesn’t want his parents to know he is in counselling. He tells you that he is afraid his parents might ridicule him for this if they find out since they have ridiculed him about other things in the past. He says he struggles with motivation, getting out of bed in the morning and has low self-esteem. He also says he doesn’t even feel like seeing his friends anymore. He wants to address these issues with you in counselling.
What do you do in this case? What are the ethical issues you need to consider?