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Keeping The Trust

  • The practice of play and creative arts therapies depends on gaining and honouring the trust of clients. Keeping trust requires:
  • Attentiveness to the quality of listening and respect offered to clients
  • Culturally appropriate ways of communicating that are courteous and clear respect for privacy and dignity
  • Respect for privacy and dignity Careful attention to client consent and confidentiality

Informing Clients

Clients and their carers should be adequately informed about the nature of the services being offered. Practitioners should obtain adequately informed consent from the carers or those legally responsible for the child and clients and respect their right to choose whether to continue or withdraw from therapy.


Practitioners should ensure that services are normally delivered on the basis of the client’s explicit consent. Reliance on implicit consent is more vulnerable to misunderstandings and is best avoided unless there are sound reasons for doing so. Overriding a client’s known wishes or consent is a serious matter that requires commensurate justification. Practitioners should be prepared to be readily accountable to clients, carers, colleagues and their professional body, such as PTUK, if they override a client’s known wishes.

Risk Situations

Situations in which clients pose a risk of causing serious harm to themselves or others are particularly challenging for the practitioner. These are situations in which the practitioner should be alert to the possibility of conflicting responsibilities between those concerning their client, other people who may be significantly affected, and society generally. Resolving conflicting responsibilities may require due consideration of the context in which the service is being provided.

Consultation on Risk

Consultation with a supervisor or experienced practitioner is strongly recommended, whenever this would not cause undue delay.

In all cases, the aim should be to ensure for the client a good quality of care that is as respectful of the client’s capacity for self determination and their trust as circumstances permit.


Practitioners should be clear about any commitment to be available to clients and colleagues and honour these commitments.

Providing Information to Clients & Carers

Practitioners should normally be willing to respond to their client’s and carers’ requests for information about the way that they are working and any assessment that they may have made. This professional requirement does not apply if it is considered that imparting this information would be detrimental to the client or inconsistent with the therapeutic approach previously agreed with the client. Clients and those legally responsible for them may have legal rights to this information and these need to be taken into account.

Intrusion of Personal Views

Practitioners should not allow their professional relationships with clients to be prejudiced by any personal views they may hold about lifestyle, gender, age, disability, race, sexual orientation, beliefs or culture.

Protection Against Abuse

Practitioners must not abuse their client’s trust in order to gain sexual, emotional, financial or any other kind of personal advantage. Sexual relations with clients and carers are prohibited. ‘Sexual relations include intercourse, any other type of sexual activity or sexualised behaviour. Practitioners should think carefully about, and exercise considerable caution before, entering into personal or business relationships with former clients, their carers or those legally responsible for them and should expect to be professionally accountable if the relationship becomes detrimental to the client or the standing of the profession.


Respecting client confidentiality is a fundamental requirement for keeping trust. The professional management of confidentiality concerns the protection of personally identifiable and sensitive information from unauthorised disclosure. Disclosure may be authorised by client consent or the law.

Any disclosures should be undertaken in ways that best protect the client’s trust.

Practitioners should be willing to be accountable to their clients and to their profession for their management of confidentiality in general and particularly for any disclosures made without their client’s consent.

Special Considerations in Working With Children

Working with young people requires specific ethical awareness and competence. The practitioner is required to consider and assess the balance between young peoples’ dependence on adults and carers and their progressive development towards acting independently.

Working with children and young people requires careful consideration of issues concerning their capacity to give consent to receiving any service independently of someone with parental or legal responsibilities and the management of confidences disclosed by clients.