In general, the privacy of all communications between a client and a therapist is protected by law, and we can only release information about our work to others with your written permission. But there are a few exceptions. In most legal proceedings, you have the right to prevent us from providing any information about your treatment. In some proceedings involving child custody and those in which your emotional condition is an important issue, a judge may order our testimony if he/she determines that the issues demand it. There are some situations in which we are legally obligated to take action to protect others from harm, even if we have to reveal some information about a client’s treatment. For example, if we believe that a child, elderly person, or disabled person is being abused, we must file a report with the appropriate state agency.
If we believe that a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another, we are required to take protective actions. These actions may include notifying the potential victim, contacting the police, and seeking hospitalization for the client. If the client threatens to harm himself/herself, we may be obligated to seek hospitalization for him/her or contact family members or others who can help provide protection. We will take any threats seriously, whether we are informed by you or someone you know. Therefore, please use discretion when providing our contact information to a third party.
You should be aware that when counseling services are sought by third parties such as employers, lawyers, or the courts, disclosure of some information is required by law. You should also be aware that disclosure of requested information to third parties, when mandated by law, could potentially have an adverse effect on your life.
These situations have rarely occurred in our practice. We will make every effort to discuss it with you before taking any action, unless we believe that notifying you may put you or your health in jeopardy.