Limits of Confidentiality
In general, the contents of counseling (both verbal and written information) are considered confidential and cannot be released to another person without written permission from the client or his or her guardian. It is my policy not to release or receive any information about a client without a signed consent form. Certain exceptions to this policy are required by legal and ethical codes, and are intended to protect others from harm.
Duty to warn and protect
If a client is threatening serious harm to him or herself or to another person, I am required to take protective action that may include notifying the police, warning intended victim(s), or seeking hospitalization for the client.
Abuse or neglect
If I suspect that a minor (or vulnerable adult) is being abused or neglected I am required to report the information to an appropriate social service or law enforcement agency.
In legal matters in which a client’s emotional condition is an important element a judge may order me to testify about the treatment or release the records.
Information given to parents
When clients are under eighteen years of age parents or guardians have a right to access the client's records.
Group, marital or family counseling
In group, marital, or family counseling, the counselor cannot guarantee that all participants will maintain the confidentiality of the session(s). When records contain information about more than one client, the information may be released only if all parties give their written permission. One person cannot waive the confidentiality rights of others.
It is occasionally helpful or necessary to consult about a client with another professional to determine the best course of action. In such instances only information about the counseling is disclosed. Names and other identifying information are not revealed. The consulting professional is also expected to keep the matter confidential.
When health care professionals must report misconduct by other health care professionals a legal or disciplinary hearing may held. In such instances, disclosure of related records might be required in order to confirm or refute the alleged misconduct.
Before paying for services, insurance companies and other third-party payers may require release of information such as described in the section above on Rates and Insurance.
Collection of fees
When fees for service are not paid in a timely manner, collection agencies may be used. The contents of the services are not disclosed. If a debt remains unpaid only the amount owed, date(s) of service, and name of the creditor may be reported.
Phone contact between sessions
When I need to contact clients for purposes such as appointment cancellations or reminders I try to preserve confidentiality. When we meet to begin counseling you can tell me how I can reach you (phone, text, or email) and how you would like me to identify myself. For example, you might want to be contacted at home but not at work (or vice versa) or you might want me to leave only my first name and not mention the name of the agency or the reason for the call.