Confidentiality and Stories in these Blog Posts
My blog posts sometimes include stories about people. The stories illustrate a problem or situation or show how someone has successfully met a challenge in their life. When I write these stories I have two obligations that I take very seriously:
- Protect the confidentiality of individual patients and clients.
- Tell true stories so readers can trust the point or lesson from the story.
I do several things to protect confidentiality. I always change the person’s name and I also change any other information that could be used to identify a particular person. So, if the blog story appears to be about a 35 year old school teacher from Windsor, the real person would have been someone from a different helping profession who grew up in a different city.
Psychologist authors also sometimes blend elements from the lives of several patients in order to tell a ‘typical story’ about a common problem. For example, I might post a story about someone who is late for work because of symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder. The situation that is described happens to people with OCD all the time. The story would be a composite base on details from the lives and experiences of several people. Such stories are ‘true’ in psychological terms even though the story is a composite. This composite approach ensures that confidentiality is protected.
I will sometimes mention a real person by name if they have published their story. In these cases I will always tell you where I got the information and give you a link so you can follow up by checking the book, podcast or video from the person.
I also tell stories about myself in some of the blog posts. I decided to share information about some of my own struggles and challenges so the readers can get to know a bit about me. I offer this sharing as part of an ongoing conversation we can have through the blog posts and your comments about the posts.