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.
- 2.1.1 Art therapists shall inform clients of the purpose and limitations of confidentiality.
- 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.
- 2.1.3 Art therapists shall protect the confidentiality of the client-therapist relationship in all matters.
News Coverage of the Issue
- The Washington Post, “Trust and Consequences”
- National Public Radio, “’Washington Post’: Therapy Notes Are Being Used Against Migrant Children”
Statements and Resources from other Mental Health Organizations
- American Psychological Association, “American Psychological Association Calls for Immediate Halt to Sharing Immigrant Youths’ Confidential Psychotherapy Notes with ICE”
- American Counseling Association, “ACA Offers Guidance for Counselors Working With Unaccompanied Minors”
- National Council for Behavioral Health, “Statement from National Council for Behavioral Health President and CEO Chuck Ingoglia Calling for an Immediate End to Releasing Immigrant Youths’ Confidential Psychotherapy Notes with ICE”
- National Association of Social Workers, “NASW demands Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) cease sharing immigrant youth psychotherapy notes”