Confidentiality has long been recognized as a critical legal and ethical principle for the committed, value-based practitioner. Vital principles (such as confidentiality) become manifest in material practices and in the language of professional and societal narratives. This articulation into specific practices and performances requires a pragmatic process that transforms the abstract into real-world activities. This imperfect process has the potential of including the derived practices that in certain ways may extend the principle in unintended or unwanted directions. In the case of confidentiality, the actual practices of confidentiality may be both emancipating and inhibiting – they may protect as well as isolate. Our purpose is to revisit the idea of confidentiality and to deconstruct the way it functions in both positive and negative manners in clinical work.