Does what we talk about in therapy remain confidential?
Confidentiality is one of the most important components between a client and psychotherapist. Successful therapy requires a high degree of trust with highly sensitive subject matter that is usually not discussed anywhere but in my office. I will provide a written copy of a confidential disclosure agreement, and you can expect that what you discuss in session will not be shared with anyone. This is called “Informed Consent”. Sometimes, however, you may want me as your therapist to share information or give an update to someone on your healthcare team, but by law I cannot release this information without obtaining your written permission.
The contents of all therapy sessions are considered to be confidential. Both verbal information and written records about a client cannot be shared with another party without the written consent of the client or the client’s legal guardian. There are, however, some notable exceptions:
Duty to Warn and Protect
When a client discloses intentions or a plan to harm another person, the mental health professional is required to warn the intended victim and report this information to legal authorities. In cases in which the client discloses or implies a plan for suicide, the health care professional is required to notify legal authorities and make reasonable attempts to notify the family of the client.
Abuse of Children and Vulnerable Adults
If a client states or suggests that he or she is abusing a child (or vulnerable adult) or has recently abused a child (or vulnerable adult), or a child (or vulnerable adult) is in danger of abuse, the mental health professional is required to report this information to the appropriate social service and/or legal authorities.
Prenatal Exposure to Controlled Substances
Mental Health care professionals are required to report admitted prenatal exposure to controlled substances that are potentially harmful.
Parents or legal guardians of non-emancipated minor clients have the right to access the clients’ records.