In general, the privacy of all communications between a client and a psychotherapist is protected by law, and I 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 me from providing any information about your treatment. In some proceedings a judge may order my testimony if he/she determines that the issues demand it.
- There are some situations in which I am legally obligated to take action to protect others from harm, even if I have to reveal some information about a client’s treatment. For example, if I believe that a child, elderly and/or disabled person, is being abused, I may be required to notify the appropriate state agency.
- If I believe that a client is threatening serious bodily harm to her or himself or another person, I am required to take protective actions. These actions may include notifying the potential victim, contacting the police, or seeking hospitalization for the client. In case of self-harm, I may be obligated to contact family members or others who can help provide protection.
If a similar situation occurs, I will make every effort to fully discuss it with you before taking any action. While this written summary of exceptions to confidentiality should prove helpful in informing you about potential problems, it is important that we discuss any questions or concerns you may have.