Tag Archives: counseling

Additional Insights into Preserving Client Confidentiality

Posted by: Lakawthra Cox, M.A., MAPC, LPC, NCC, CCC on June 12, 2019 8:38 am

Glenn Sheppard wrote the article, Notebook on Ethics, Standards of Practice, and Legal Issues for Counselors and Psychotherapists in Cognica’s Winter 2018 Edition. His article reviewed ethical considerations for mental health service providers to uphold privacy and confidentially. I believe that he provided good merit and I wanted to continue and augment the dialogue to address other ways to uphold privacy and confidentiality when confronted with antagonistic attempts to gain unprivileged information.

I wanted to share my personal professional experiences. While acting as a regional director of one of the largest non-profit organizations in the US, both officials and family members made several attempts to gain unprivileged information.

Family Members
The instance that I recall most vividly were the attempts made by a few people to gain information on a domestic violence victim. Initially, the first caller claimed to be a family member. As for anyone without a signed disclosure or a warrant, we were neither able to confirm nor deny providing services to a client. I reminded my staff that even when family members make inquires that we cannot provide information and breach a client’s confidentiality.

I believe that we had three attempts to gain information on the same client within a 1-2 week period. On one of the final attempts, a man claimed to be an investigator. Despite the inquirer’s credentials, my or my staff’s responsibility to maintain confidentiality had not changed. Fortunately, I had sat down with my staff and requested that they be vigilant during this time, because it appeared that requests for confidential information had increased.

I too was a domestic violent survivor who had to flee an unsafe situation. I had personally experienced service providers who did not understand the scope in which to preserve my or my children’s confidentiality. Unfortunately, officials were oftentimes the worst at maintaining my family’s confidentiality. I learned how to put safety features in place for me and children and my clients later benefited, as I understand firsthand the scope of avoiding breaching confidentiality.

Whenever an attorney would call, my staff would forward the call to me. Some attorneys were seeking information on behalf of their client. Nonetheless, my client would still need to sign a release prior to my submitting any information to their attorney. Another attorney sent over a court order not signed by a judge. We were not required to respond to any request by attorneys that do not have a proper endorsement by a judge.

Oklahoma State Laws
Oklahoma State Board of Behavioral Health, Licensed Public Counselor Rules (2016). Title 86, State Board of Behavioral Health Licensure, Chapter 10, Licensed Professional Counselors; Subchapter 3. Rules of Professional Conduct.


LPCs shall maintain the confidentiality of any information received from any person or source about a client, unless authorized in writing by the client or otherwise authorized or required by law or court order

American Counseling Association
Code of Ethics Section B, Confidentiality and Privacy
B.1.c. Respect for Confidentiality

Counselors protect the confidential information of prospective and current clients. Counselors disclose information only with appropriate consent or with sound legal or ethical justification. p.6

Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association
Standards of Practice, B. Counselling Relationships, Confidentiality

Counsellors have a fundamental ethical responsibility to take every reasonable precaution to respect and to safeguard their clients’ right to confidentiality, and to protect from inappropriate disclosure, any information generated within the counselling relationship. This responsibility begins during the initial informed consent process before commencing work with the client, continues after a client’s death, and extends to disclosing whether or not a particular individual is in fact a client. p.10

It is important that as mental health professionals we are aware of the guidelines of our prospective licensing, certification, and professional boards. National professional organizations, such as the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association and the American Counseling Association also provide guidelines for us to follow. In addition, if there is ever any question as to what you should do when confronted with such a situation, consider 1) Consulting with a colleague and 2) Researching your laws and regulating bodies of your profession. You may also consider finding out the requirements of horizontal mental health professions. For example, I am a Licensed Public Counselor but I may want to keep in mind requirements of Social Workers, Licensed Marriage and Family Counselor, and Psychologist who may have a more stringent state requirement.

Lakawthra Cox, MA, MAPC, LPC, NCC, CCC

Oklahoma State Board of Behavioral Health, Licensed Public Counselor Rules (2016). Title 86, State Board of Behavioral Health Licensure, Chapter 10, Licensed Professional Counselors; Subchapter 3. Rules of Professional Conduct. https://www.ok.gov/behavioralhealth/documents/Permanent%20Rules%20-%20LPC%20-%209-11-2016.pdf
American Counseling Association. (2014). Code of Ethics: Section B, Confidentiality and Privacy. B.1.c. Respect for Confidentiality. p.6. https://www.counseling.org/resources/aca-code-of-ethics.pdf.
Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy: Association. Standards of Practice, 5th Ed. (2015). B. Counseling Relationships, Confidentiality, p.10. https://www.ccpa-accp.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/StandardsOfPractice_en_June2015.pdf


*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

Payment Options for Counsellors

Posted by: Shelley Skelton on August 26, 2015 3:30 pm


How do you plan to receive payment from your clients? Are you collecting payment yourself or will there be a receptionist doing that for you? Do you have third party payment? Will you be mobile or in one location? Will any of your counselling be online? All of these answers will help determine which option is best for you. I will share what I have learned about payment options and how I made my decisions. Two very useful online articles are listed at the bottom. Continue reading

*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

The Beauty of Children

Posted by: Asa Don Brown on June 17, 2014 12:00 pm

“The soul is healed by being with children.”
~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky

I was completely unaware of the absolute beauty of life until I became a father.  Fatherhood has opened my eyes beyond my own imagination.  As a father, I have learned more about myself, life, and the meaning of life; simply by viewing the physical beings gifted unto me.  Children are the window to our futures and a beacon of light in a sometimes dark world.

As a father, I have learned to appreciate each moment that I am granted to spend with my children.  Whether they are happy or sad, full of energy or laying down for a nap; I am amazed by the life that radiates out of their little bodies.


“With children the clock is reset.  We forget what came before”
~ Jhumpa Lahiri

As a father, we need to actively listen to our children.  Fathers who actively listen will be the recipients of an unbelievable education, going well beyond one’s wildest of dreams.  The gift of a child goes well beyond that most descriptive of words.  Children are the essence of life.  They are capable of proving resilient in the most troubling of times, and rebounding from the greatest of falls.  They have an ability of bringing a smile on the gloomiest of faces.   It is awesome how the very life of a child is capable of resetting our thought patterns, our mindsets, and our very outlook upon the world.  The gift of a child is capable of completely changing our worldview and perceptions of life. Continue reading

*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

Marriage Is . . .

Posted by: Asa Don Brown on April 28, 2014 3:27 pm

“No sooner met but they looked; no sooner looked but they loved; no sooner loved but they sighed; no sooner sighed but they asked one another the reason; no sooner knew the reason but they sought the remedy; and in these degrees have they made a pair of stairs to marriage.”     ~ William Shakespeare

As a husband of 17 years, I can inform you that marriage is a lifelong education.  Marriage is the essence of life and it has an intrinsic way of wholly consuming every aspect of life.  While the consumption is likely, the type of consumption can be a profitable experience rather than a drudgery.

Furthermore, marriage is a lifelong commitment.  The commitment cannot solely be an individual endeavor, rather marriage is a joint effort.  As a clinician, I am always amazed that the assumption of marriage is viewed from a myopic perspective, rather than a hyperopic one.  Marriage is not a singular ideological framework, rather it devised of two perspectives uniting together to become one.  While you can rest assured that your ideological views surely will cross, it is always essential to come to a place to agree-to-disagree.  Moreover, while there are no perfect marriages, the highlight of every marriage is to strive for an unified best!


“A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.”  ~ Mignon McLaughlin

Marriage is an ultimate sacrifice of thyself and thy personhood.   It is through the sacrifice that we learn to serve and to be served.  Marriage is the best reminder of why it is important to love thyself.  While many utter words of love, few completely understand the roots of love.  Love is an intense feeling of deep affection, admiration, respect and warm approval.  Without love, there is likely no attachment or affection.  Nevertheless, you can be the best of friends and not be “in love.”  Moreover, love must begin within you before it can be expressed outwardly.

What does it mean to be in love?  Being in love is not a mystical experience, having hidden or esoteric meanings.  Rather, being “in love’ is within anyone’s reach and is a response to reactions in our brain, but connecting to the “right” person is often the challenge.  You cannot force a person to “be in love.”  If you partner is not “in love” with you, then the likelihood of making that connection is null.

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*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

The Psychology of Hate

Posted by: Asa Don Brown on April 9, 2014 12:55 pm

“Personal responsibility is the willingness to completely accept choices that we have made throughout our lives.”
~ Asa Don Brown, Waiting to Live

Hate has a pathological effect upon the psyche of the individual.  The pathology of hate is commonly linked to those that provide us protection and nurturing early in the early stages of our lives.  The nurturing of a parent or guardian can be the catalyst of a variety of psychological and psychiatric conditions.  It is not to say that hate cannot be spurred on by organic conditions of the mind, but we know that the greatest influence of hate is directly related to the nurturing received in our youth.

While psychological and psychiatric conditions of each individual may develop beyond the experiences per childhood; the presets surrounding the personal ideological viewpoints, theories,  ethical and moral compasses are undoubtedly influenced by those in direct contact with our own lives.

The makeup of hate is comprised of uncertainty, insecurity, loneliness, awkwardness, lack of confidence, self-doubt, unassertiveness, timidity, anxiety, instability, vulnerability, and defenselessness.  Whereas to love, a person has humility, security, assurance, acceptance, attachments, tenderness, patience, understanding, compassion and most of all, tolerance.


The human race is an intolerable species.  We are seldom welcoming of varying views, belief systems, and behaviors.  We shun or outwardly reject those who differ from our own person.  As a species, we are more apt to disregard or completely ignore anyone we disagree with.  Such intolerance is no different than blatant acts of hate and discrimination.  You may be asking yourself, how can ignoring or shunning be as reprehensible as violent acts.  While the acts of shunning or ignoring lack the physical violence of the fist; shunning and ignoring are intentionally setting a precedent of intolerance and bigotry.  It is this sort of behavior, attitudes, and percepts that is directly linked to instilling negative emotions (i.e. fear, distrust, hatred, worry, and personal distress).  The prejudices of an individual can invoke rage, hostilities, and an overall spirit of negativity.

While the intolerance begins within the mind and psyche of the individual, seldom does the intolerance keep isolated within the mind of the individual.  Sadly, the venomous nature of intolerance is capable of creeping itself slowly into the minds of others who directly and indirectly interact with the ill mind.

The spoils of intolerance are capable of diminishing and destroying every thread of communication.  It is the egregious nature of intolerance that spurs on the prejudices and bigotry  developed within the minds of those effected by such hate.


The victims of hate may be your neighbor, your friend, your father, your mother, your brother, your sister, your grandparent, your employer, and/or your enemy.  While the victims may range in age, race, gender, and intellectual quotient (IQ); the desire of such discrimination is to reach  maximum proportions.

Hate has intentions on breaking down the unity of all humanity.  It does not cease with the individual, but seeks to infiltrate all aspects of personal and global thinking.  The injection of such venom penetrates each aspect of humanity whether on an individual scale or a global perspective.  It may include ethnicity, religion, national origin, genetic makeup, socioeconomic status, career choices and/or a personal disability.  The ultimate goal of all hate crimes is intended on reaching systemic levels, thus reinforcing the intentions of hate.

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*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

The Psychological Effects of Divorce

Posted by: Asa Don Brown on March 17, 2014 7:00 am

“When mom and dad went to war the only prisoners they took were the children.”
~ Pat Conroy

As a child of divorce, I can confer that the legal separation and dissolution of a marriage can have a profound effect. Even if, your parents are splitting amicably, having the greatest spirit of friendliness and acceptance; the separation of a set of parents has an effect. The level of the effect will and may differ, dependent upon the rationale behind the divorce, and the outcome of the divorce proceedings. While on the judicial side, divorce is the legal dissolving of a relationship; divorce from the perspective is the removal of one parent from another.

Divorce not only effects the children, the parents (the couple), but has an ability of effecting those beyond the confines of the immediate relationship. While divorce has an effect, it’s effect will vary dependent upon the family and the ultimate dynamics of the relationship .


Divorce can have a dire effect on all members of the family. The repercussions of a divorce can have an impact on the families financial stability, social environment, academic and employee performance, and the psychological and physical well-being of the family. Please understand, I am not criticizing divorce, rather it is important to recognize the possible and often frequent ramifications of divorce. While the ramifications and outcome of divorce are often egregious in nature; the ramifications and outcome of remaining in a negative, abusive, unaffectionate or undesirable relationship, can have a significantly greater effect.

“First, children who grow up in an intact, two-parent family with both biological parents present do better on a wide range of outcomes than children who grow up in a single-parent family. Single parenthood is not the only, nor even the most important, cause of the higher rates of school dropout, teenage pregnancy, juvenile delinquency, or other negative outcomes we see; but it does contribute independently to these problems. Neither does single parenthood guarantee that children will not succeed; many, if not most, children who grow up in a single-parent
household do succeed.” (Berlin, 2004, Online)

The Typical Concerns Associated with Divorce

1) What is the probability that my child will develop feelings of abandonment?
2) Does my child blame me for the divorce?
3) Will my child blame himself/herself for my divorce?
4) What is the probability that my child may develop psychological concerns because of the divorce?
5) As a parent, will I have the ability to have equal time and custody of my child?
6) How do I reassure my child that I will not abandon him/her?
7) How do I reduce the level of stress involved with the divorce?
8) How do I show respect for someone that I detest?
9) What is the probability that the disruption of the family routines will effect my child?
10) What if, my child show’s no signs or symptoms pertaining to the divorce?

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*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

So What’s Your Creative Quotient?

Posted by: Priya Senroy on March 15, 2014 12:39 pm

I think this winter has zapped my creativity and the only canvas I see around me is white…every time I try to infuse color…BAM comes the snow and wipes it clean…even my children are saying my food is not colorful…so have I lost my mojo or winter is just an excuse not to be creative….so I came across this website that I was exploring with a client around career assessment  on creative quotient…and I thought to myself…well mine must be zero at this time and I surprised myself with a   57%–

So what is Creative Quotient or CQ….well…Just as IQ and EQ has proven to be measures of specific capabilities, the capacity for creativity is increasingly the core to building value in these uncertain and treacherous times. And just as IQ and EQ scores can be raised significantly for anyone by teaching and training, so too can CQ be bolstered for clients, individuals and organizations. Perhaps we can use CQ as an assessment/evaluation tool in our counselling process

I do not know if  such tests  are right or wrong, valid or not  and I definitely  do not know the scientific validity behind it or if it is backed by best evidence based practice ,but it was interesting to think of the questions-even though I did not take it for my career exploration-it might be worthwhile to try it to get over the creative blah if anyone is feeling up to it..

It has definitely raised my mojo and now I am striving to see how I can improve it further.

So the websites where these tests and more information can be found are:





*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

Making Peace With Your Past: Choosing Health and Happiness

Posted by: Asa Don Brown on February 27, 2014 12:00 pm

“A life lived without forgiveness is a prison.”
~ William Arthur Ward

Forgiveness is not only a state of mind, but it is a state of being.  It is woven through the very essence of our being.  Forgiveness is a constant attitude occurring through a purposeful action.  As humans, we are instinctively designed to forgive. It is only when we choose not to forgive that our minds, bodies, and spirits begin to experience disrepair.  Those who choose not to forgive, choose to harbor the wrongs of others and of their own person, frequently have physical and psychological signs.  Forgiveness cleanses the body, ridding it of the decay of negativity, disappointment, and heartache.  It is through the act of forgiveness, that we can live a balanced and well-adjusted life.  Forgiveness is the key to live life productively.


Forgiving others, especially our enemies is a challenge indeed.  What if, you had committed a wrong against another?  Would you not have deep desire to be forgiven?  Have you ever experienced the denial of your repentance?  What sort of effect did this have on your person?  Were you shattered by the unwavering and unyielding of the person or persons you had wronged?

As a clinician, I have met a variety of patients / clients who’s hearts ache to be forgiven.  As an individual, I too have had the experience of others denying the acceptance of my repentance.  The denial of our repentance can have a penetrating effect, plunging like a dagger deep into the very core of our being.  For so many, forgiveness and the lack of forgiveness can prove a major stumbling block.

If we deny accepting the repentance of another, then we are intentionally and purposefully hanging on to the wrongs of the past.  The wrongs of the past serve as a coat-of-arms.  We identify our coat-of-arms as a shield of honor, but the reality is, our coat-of-arms is shielding the very nature of our person from allowing others to enter.  It is serving as a warning sign, informing others to tread lightly, because I will remove them from my life, if they wrong me.

For people who long for the acceptance of their repentance, they will continue to be haunted  by their past wrongs as long as they choose to hang onto them.


“Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a permanent attitude.”
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Forgiveness is the intentional act or process of pardoning or offering absolution unto another.

Furthermore, it is the intentional act or process of accepting my own personal responsibility in an act or an event.  True repentance is expressed through sincere regret and remorse of our wrongs.  Therefore, I must forgive my own person, if I truly desire to heal from wrongful acts.  Forgiveness is a three way street.  It is the act of contrition, which is a state of feeling remorseful, sorrowful, regretful and penitent for the wrongs the we have committed.  It is also the responsibility of the person accepting our humbled and broken heart, that engages the act of forgiveness.  Most importantly, whether or not those we have wronged will accept our repentance, we must be willing to forgive ourselves.  For forgiving our own person allows the individual to move forward in life.  Unfortunately, not everyone will pardon or offer absolution of the wrongs we have committed.  Therefore, it is absolutely necessary that we forgive our own person simultaneously, when we request others to forgive the deeds or acts that we have committed.  Always remember, forgiveness is a continuous act not a momentary embrace.

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*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

Fatherhood – Being the Best Father You Can Be

Posted by: Asa Don Brown on February 7, 2014 4:13 pm

“Fatherhood is a very natural thing; it’s not something that shakes up my life but rather enriches it.”
~ Andrea Bocelli

Today’s culture is making it easier and easier to be a “father.”  While children continue to be neglected, research is showing that there is an incline in the number of fathers who are actively participating in the lives of children. Moreover, there has been a significant “…increase in programs designed to promote involved and responsible fatherhood.” (Perry, 2012,  Online)

As a father, I have discovered my lifelong calling is, “fatherhood.”  Fatherhood is essentially the willingness to treat with protective care and in a nurturing manner.  It is fatherhood that allows the male in the relationship to join together with his partner and become “the father”.  A father is more than having the ability to impregnate a women, rather a father is the person who provides support, care, and an unconditional environment.

As men, we are not equipped to bear children, yet we are naturally designed to be fathers.  It is recognizing and accepting the role of fatherhood, that enables a man to begin becoming a father.  Our limitations, reservations, and fears of fatherhood, are frequently the uncertainties and insecurities associated with failure . What if I fail as a father?  So what, pull yourself up by your bootstraps and move forward.  Do not hesitate or fear asking for advice.   Asking for advice is not an indication that you are weak, rather that you are strong in your willingness to ask for help.

After all, fatherhood is the greatest education a man can ever receive.  As a father, you not only have an opportunity to learn more about yourself, but about the world around you.  A child’s constant questioning and inquiry of life, offers a father an unique opportunity and the privilege for growth.


“It is a wise father that knows his own child.”
~ William Shakespeare

As a father, we need to actively listen.  Active listening is the ability, the skill, technique, or an inherent trait whereby, a person is purposefully and intentionally focusing on the communications being sent by another person or persons.  An active listener not only listens and receives an intended message, but is capable of paraphrasing what messages he or she has received back to the communicator.  An active listener recognizes that not all communication is verbally spoken, but is often communicated through verbal and nonverbal transmissions.  It entails good physical posture, gestures, and purposeful eye contact.

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*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

Please Yell at Me

Posted by: Asa Don Brown on January 24, 2014 4:16 pm

“There should be no yelling in the home unless there is a fire.”
~ David O. McKay

Have you ever experienced yelling?  Have you ever had anyone request to yell at you?   Have you ever requested to yell at someone else?  Why is it acceptable or permissible to yell at someone?  Why is it acceptable for  parents, children, teachers, coaches, conductors or instructors to engage in such a hostile act?  Why do we consider yelling to be less demeaning or violating, than other forms of corporal punishment (e.g. spanking, switching, flogging, or caning)?  Do we consider the perceivable and tangible act of spanking, switching, flogging or caning to be of greater violation?  Or do we consider yelling to have less damming effect?

Many parents and professionals agree that corporal punishment has an egregious effect on those who endure it’s wrath.  Moreover, yelling is a more acceptable form of punishment.  No one comes into this world having a full repertoire, or perfect set, of parenting skills.  A person’s range of skills and abilities will increase with time and lessons on parenting.  As parents, we all have an ability to grow and spread our wings.  Every parent is capable of learning new and improved ways of parenting.  There are no absolutes when parenting a child, but there are absolutes when considering the various methods of discipline.


Yelling has an ability of conditioning those who are receiving or engaging in the act.  It is the nature of yelling that makes it reflective of other forms of corporal punishment.  The intent of corporal punishment is to deliberately and severely correct, chastise, rebuke or reprimand another.  The complexity of yelling is its dichotomy of objectives.  Yelling can be used as a source of rebuke and  chastisement; it can be used as a source of expressing excitement, eagerness, and exuberance; and/or  it can be used to draw attention to a threat, risk, and/or communicate an emergency.   Let’s clarify, the yelling being addressed in this article has to do with the corrective form of discipline, punishment, or retribution.

While yelling has a positive element, yelling for the intention of discipline, chastising or mere punishment is a completely unacceptable act.

Have you ever been rebuked or punished for something you have done wrong?  Did the person use yelling as a source for correcting your behavior?  If so, how did you feel?  Did the yelling uplift your spirit, or cause you to feel dejected, humiliated and broken?  Yelling is the belittling of the soul and the very essence of the person.  Yelling is seldom a singular event.  People who choose to yell, frequently and repetitively use yelling as a form of conditioning another person.  The conditioning is being used in order to develop obedience or compliance of another.  Yelling in the corrective form is always unnecessary, excessive, and tiresome.

As a clinician, I have no reservations in saying, that yelling decays the human spirit.  It breaks the essence of the person receiving the vice, and it is unbecoming of the person enacting or engaging in the tantrum.  Yes, in most cases, yelling is a tantrum being propelled from one person and being received by another.   Yelling is one of the most reprehensible act of abuse.

Have you ever heard the following nursery rhyme?  “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

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*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA