Extending Confidentiality

For the past two years, I worked as a gender-based violence caseworker at a government institution in Nigeria.

While working there I handled numerous cases, attended meetings and trainings on gender-based violence. I’m grateful for the knowledge I’ve had from my work, and I’d love to share so much about it, but due to the sensitivity of the work, I’m not allowed to share as much as I’d like to.

Why?

“Confidentiality”

It’s a major guiding principle in my career.
I’ve always agreed with this principle, and the more I see it applied, the more value and appreciation I have for it.

According to the American Psychology Association, Dictionary of Psychology

“Confidentiality is a principle of professional ethics requiring providers of mental health care or medical care to limit the disclosure of a patient’s identity, his or her condition or treatment, and any data entrusted to professionals during the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment. Similar protection is given to research participants and survey respondents against unauthorized access to information they reveal in confidence”

There are rare situations where confidentiality can be broken. It can be broken when information has to be shared about someone for their safety (e.g if the client/patient is going to be a danger to themselves or others). It can also be broken when information about them needs to be shared with another professional who can help them.

I’ve discovered that confidentiality brings this element of sacredness at work that I believe can be brought in relationships too

It makes me wonder……what if everything about the people in my life, loved ones, strangers, enemies even, didn’t have to be shared?
Maybe there’d be more sacredness in the way I relate with people, and in the way I view them.

They’d be less room for gossiping and more room for honor;

According to the Cambridge Dictionary
“Gossip can be defined as conversation or reports about other people’s private lives that might be unkind, disapproving, or not true.”

What If I only shared things about people that would guarantee their safety (emotional not just physical), that would guarantee their betterment and edification?

Maybe just maybe, this guiding principle in my career that’s intended to guide me to help clients/patients can also guide me, to help the people I interact with, in my life.

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