Working within IAPT or in services trying to embed IAPT principles, necessarily involves working with patients around distressing, sensitive and difficult issues and case material.  As practitioners we are given the power to influence the lives of patients who may be very vulnerable.  With this power comes a high degree of responsibility.  It is a job that requires emotional resilience, self-awareness and self-care. 

It is recognised that we all have life experiences and relationships that have shaped who we are and can all be emotionally affected by the work that we do.  It is for this reason that the programmes promote reflective practice to ensure that we are mindful of the way our own experiences and assumptions about the world, people and relationships may influence our therapeutic relations and interventions.

We would like to promote an ethos which allows programme members the opportunity to reflect openly and honestly on the challenges of their role and the way in which contact with their patients and their life stories can affect us all.  This means that programme members may sometimes share personal information about themselves with selected members of staff and with each other.  Programme members can expect that team members and their programme member colleagues will be thoughtful and sensitive about the programme member’s right to confidentiality.  As a staff team we would also have to balance this with the need to ensure that we are all protecting the interests of potential patients and ensure that programme members are able to provide appropriate clinical interventions.  For this reason, we provide the following statement about confidentiality of programme members:

Programme Member Confidentiality

We aim to facilitate an open learning environment in which information is shared appropriately and respectfully between staff, programme members and relevant others to enable programme members’ development and to ensure appropriate patient care. Programme members should expect that information about day-to-day aspects of training will be shared as appropriate. This will routinely include the sharing of marks for the assessments included within the programme and an overview of progress with the programme members identified clinical lead/service manager/supervisor as identified. The programme member will have consented to having this information shared as part of the application form.

It is likely that personal matters are discussed in the course of discussions with programme teachers. This can, of course, be confidential and in these circumstances there should be a discussion about how best to handle confidentiality. Where personal matters are discussed that may impact on the programme member’s performance on the programme/ability to provide appropriate patient care, there should be a discussion about how best, and with whom, to share concerns. Programme members should expect that staff team members will need to discuss with one another how best to handle any issues. As far as possible this should be with the programme member’s informed consent. If necessary a confidentiality agreement can be drawn up between the programme members and appropriate staff/supervisors.

In extreme cases however programme members have disclosed information highlight personal risk of suicide or that indicating that they may be a wider risk to self or others. Under these circumstances and in accord with standard mental health practice the teaching team may consider it necessary to inform your service and/or your GP. You will have consented to this as part of the application form. Where risk is a concern however we would always seek to inform others with your full knowledge however. 

Confidentiality – Guidelines

1. Generally:

  1. The details of any personal material remains confidential within the context in which it is shared, i.e. it is not fitting for any participant to disclose information about another, in their absence or presence, within the course or in conversation outside of sessions, without agreed permission.
  2. The only exception to this if you have concerns about the safety of children or adults. In such cases you should consult your programme lead, and when possible inform the person concerned that you are doing this and explain why.

2. When patient material is shared programme members will do so:

  1. in a manner most likely to protect the identity of the patients;
  2. in a manner which honours the limits of confidentiality, explained previously to a patient;
  3. with an understanding that no member of the group will disclose any information about such patients outside the sessions.

Ground Rules for Groups, Tutorials and Supervision

  1. Work with respect for each other even if we disagree
  2. Accept corporate responsibility for the climate
  3. Accept individual responsibility for individual behaviour
  4. Establish permissions for: having feelings, opinions and to learn constructively from mistakes
  5. Pay attention to issues of difference such as gender, age, race and culture remembering that each person’s experience is true for them and valid
  6. Clarify limits of confidentiality and adhere to these
  7. Make your own decisions about how much information you wish to share about personal or occupational matters
  8. Remember you are the “expert” about your own life – any questions or suggestions from others may be rejected as inappropriate