Confidentiality

Practitioners are bound to the levels of confidentiality required by their licensure, setting, community, state, and client group. This is a central consideration, yet it is also important to highlight that the unique circumstances and settings of AT may lead to situations in which confidentiality could be compromised. Regardless, it is essential that practitioners not assume that these circumstances allow for less attention to the issue and reasonable efforts to protect confidentiality should be made at all times, regardless of circumstance.

  • It is important to recognize situations that might compromise confidentiality in this context (e.g., meeting outside of an office may limit the ability to maintain confidentiality due to the fact that other people may be encountered, registration of a group at a public campsite, use of public lands by non-program clients).
  • It may be useful to disclose to a client how confidentiality may be compromised due to the inherent services (e.g., medical services, nature of activity site). Informing them that third parties may be encountered during the course of an activity helps uphold the standard.
  • AT interventions are often incorporated as part of a broader treatment system, which often requires more collateral communication than is found in other settings. This creates scenarios in which breaches of confidentiality can occur more easily and it is essential that practitioners maintain ongoing awareness of whether or not appropriate consents have been given to allow for client-related communication (i.e., it is illegal to talk to another professional about a client when consents have not been signed, even if it is obvious that the other professional knows the client well). It may be useful to review the bounds of confidentiality and procedures necessary to procure confidentiality with less experienced practitioners.
  • Education about HIPPA standards and organizational efforts to be in line with these regulations should be provided to all practitioners. These standards may be applicable to other areas as well, and organizations are encouraged to continually remain cognizant of the ways in which they are maintaining HIPPA compliance.