Date: July 25, 2021
“This video answers the question: If a client confesses a murder to a counselor, does the counselor have to report it? I’ve heard a number of variants of this question as well, so not just murder, but other serious crimes like assault kidnapping, bank robbery, drug trafficking, and other crime. Now this may seem like a rare situation, but we do know that 40% of murders remain unsolved and of course high percentages of other serious crimes are unsolved as well. Many of these offenders do continue to commit crimes, so they could be in prison for something else and not the crime that they’re trying to hide. However, it is still possible and there have been counselors who have been in this situation before.
One key consideration would be the Duty to Warn / Duty to Protect as they may be applicable depending on the circumstances. This is combining the responsibilities of a mental health clinician to treat a client and help that client with this idea of protecting other people or protecting the public from the client. It gets into an area that a lot of counselors feel uncomfortable with and there are actually a lot of reasons to feel uncomfortable with it, because the law the duty to warn law or the duty to protect law is different in each state.
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