An exploration of what the therapeutic relationship represents and the impact of mandatory reporting

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Keatinge, Anthony
Issue Date
BA (Hons) Counselling and Psychotherapy
Dublin Business School
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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