SOMETHING TO HAND TO YOUR PSYCHO EVALULATORS B4 SESSION
Posted: Thu May 18, 2006 11:36 am
Simply put, it is wrong for any society to suspend the individual's right of freedom of speech to a psychoanalyst in the interests of social need, whatever it be.
We need go no further than the lawyer-client relation to see this. All criminal lawyers find themselves informed of criminal activity by some of their clients, disclosure of which would save lives, restore injustice, and remedy grave social disruption. Yet the pledge of confidentiality that is part of the structure of the lawyer-client relation is privileged. Not only are lawyers legally exempt from reporting on their clients, if they nonetheless choose to do so, they will have violated their oath, which in turn will have been a violation of their profession, and they will lose their license to practise.
Psychoanalysts (like journalists) should exercise de facto privilege in what will inevitably be a long road toward guaranteed privilege. Psychoanalysis can and should assert the same right of confidentiality held by the legal community in the lawyer-client relationship. The law cannot exist without this privilege. And neither can psychoanalysis.
No psychoanalyst should ever hand over clinical notes to a court of law, or disclose information gained in a session. To do so may well be in compliance with the law of the land, but it is unethical. It betrays the analysand, it destroys psychoanalysis, and finally it fails the long struggle in many countries to provide a place of psychotherapeutic sanctuary for all persons whose mental life causes suffering to self and to others. This space is to the common good of all societies that have worked to create it.
The psychoanalyst is not simply custodian of psychoanalysis. For better or for worse, wished for or not, the psychoanalytical profession is guardian of a social right – the right to speak one's mental life assured that such disclosure will be held in strictest confidence – that will need continuous representation within the dynamic vicissitudes of a free society.
It is time to take a stand.
(Posted to Psyche Matters 2/00)
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