The law protects the special relationship between a client and a psychotherapist, the same as a doctor-patient or attorney-client relationship, and information cannot be disclosed without written permission from you the client. You the client hold the "Therapist-Patient Privilege" which means that you are the only one who can give permission to use confidential information gained in a therapy session. I will assert this privilege on your behalf until instructed, in writing to do otherwise by you or a person with the authority to waive the privilege on your behalf.
There are exceptions to the above policy however, so please read carefully. It is important that we discuss any questions or concerns that you may have regarding these exceptions to confidentiality as soon as possible, preferably at our next meeting. Because the laws governing confidentiality are quite complex, and I am not an attorney, you may wish to consult an attorney for formal legal advice regarding any specific questions you may have.*
- If I believe that a child currently under the age of 18, an elderly person over the age of 65, or a disabled person is being or has been abused, I am mandated by law to file a report with the appropriate state agency;
- If I believe that a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another, I am required to take protective actions. These actions may include notifying the potential victim, contacting the police, and/or seeking hospitalization for the client;
- If the client threatens with serious intent to harm him/herself, I may be obligated to seek hospitalization for him/her or to contact family members or others who can help provide protection;
I may be compelled by a court to release information.
*Please also refer to the HIPAA section of this website for more specific information regarding confidentiality and your rights.