February 24, 2020


On February 24, 2020, AATA President Dr. Margaret Carlock-Russo sent a letter to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) condemning the current practice of using notes from required therapy sessions against detained youth in court – a clear breach of patient confidentiality and abuse of power.

“Not only does [the use of therapy records] violate client-therapist trust and damage the therapeutic relationship, it can be re-traumatizing to already vulnerable youth,” writes Dr. Carlock-Russo. “I strongly appeal to federal officials and policy makers to champion trauma-informed practices that support a child’s right to feel safe, be protected, and live without fear and maltreatment—and end the practice of using detained children’s traumatic past experiences against them.”

Art Therapy Ethics

The Art Therapy Credentials Board’s Code of Ethics ATCB Code of Ethics, Conduct, and Disciplinary Procedures outlines appropriate conduct for art therapists. It protects the interest of the profession, as well as individual clients, employers and the public. It addresses ethical principles as well as standards of conduct.

2.1 Confidentiality 

  1. 2.1.1  Art therapists shall inform clients of the purpose and limitations of confidentiality.
  2. 2.1.2  Art therapists shall respect and protect confidential information obtained from clients, including, but not limited to, all verbal and/or artistic expression occurring within the client- therapist relationship.
  3. 2.1.3  Art therapists shall protect the confidentiality of the client-therapist relationship in all matters.

News Coverage of the Issue

Statements and Resources from other Mental Health Organizations