“According to the German legal code, therapists are forbidden from revealing anything that happens in the context of treatment,” said Laura Kuhle, a clinical psychologist and one of Dunkelfeld’s therapists. “If people mention anything in therapy that could make them criminally culpable, they are protected. In other countries, that’s not the case.”
Kuhle is convinced that, if patients were not guaranteed that confidentiality, most would not turn up at all and those that did would not be truly honest.
“We need them to be completely open about what has happened in their pasts, so that we can work with them as effectively as possible. What situations have they found themselves in? What were the individual events that led up to what’s happened to them until now? You can’t answer questions like that if you are afraid,” Kuhle said.
For Weber, who is keen to stress he has never offended although he admits to having been dangerously close to doing so, the confidentiality clause was key.