The aim of this study was to examine therapists‟ awareness and perceived ideas of what
the therapeutic relationship represents and the impact of mandatory reporting. The study
interviewed five participants who all on some level have had to take on board the impact
of mandatory reporting. These participants were chosen as they all vary in their
professional experience both in years and within the professional capacity with which
they work in.
The research study uses a qualitative approach with semi structured interviews that are
made up of nine questions that were construed to lend as open an exploration as possible.
The findings reveal that there are different opinions around what it is that the therapeutic
relationship represents, especially now with the impact of mandatory reporting. It was
found that there was for some of the participants a confusion around what was and what
is now, in terms of the responsibility of the therapist.
This responsibility has been challenged in a way that with the impact of mandatory
reporting, the dynamics of the therapeutic relationship have had to be addressed. The
therapist having always put the client first, being held in a relationship of trust and
confidentiality and being given that feeling of safety is now challenged. The research
reveals that the therapeutic relationship is not just about the client. The therapist with
mandatory reporting must also take society into the equation for the purpose of protecting
children and vulnerable adults through reporting. Author keywords: Mandatory reporting, trust and confidentiality, therapeutic relationship