Applied Skills


Professional Boundaries

Human service professionals work with clients undergoing difficult situations that often result in crisis. NOHS Ethical Standards and state law list specific situations when the human service professional must break client confidentiality. In most cases, human service professionals break confidentiality:

  • when a client reports harm to self or others,
  • when a client reports abuse or neglect to a child, elder, or person with special needs, or
  • when court ordered.

Therefore, it is critical to have knowledge of ethical and legal procedures when these events occur.

Please respond to the following:

  • Provide a specific NOHS Ethical Standard that addresses client confidentiality and the human service professional role.
  • Reflect on your thoughts/feelings working with a client that discloses potential self-harm.
  • Describe two actions you can take if unsure if you should break client confidentiality.

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