Foglesong said he had homicidal and suicidal thoughts and was afraid he could carry out his idea of wearing a mask to a Sissonville High School football game where he could shoot into the crowd, targeting some he believed were sexual predators or other "bad people," and that would incite police to fire at him.
Although Kershner did not comment on the specific case, he said situations are more serious if specifics are explained: if the person has a particular place, person and way of doing something in mind and has the means to act.
"It depends on the counselor and what their limits are, but the community need for safety trumps the client's need for privacy. That's the way the profession looks at it," he said.
"Most counselors would err on the side of protecting the community. In the past decade, there have been instances where folks did these things and were in counseling at the time."
Clayman said the call has become more difficult more recently with an increase in violence.
"I don't understand the sudden urge of people shooting people," Clayman said. "A lot of these people have depressive issues . . . wanting to go out in a blaze of glory . . . it's a distorted thought.
"And it's often difficult to determine what to do. We all live in dread that we'll make the wrong clinical decision."
Kershner said the situation is further complicated when a patient is seeking help for these thoughts. That indicates the client may be ambivalent or struggling with the situation. He said that takes extra thought and perhaps additional opinions from a colleague.
"That's a difficult judgment call. It gets into a pretty complicated area, and that line is different for everybody. Each counselor has their own comfort levels in how they make the assessment," he said.
"There are guidelines to try to standardize these things, but it gets very subjective. This is a difficult position for any counselor to be in."
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