The law protects the relationship between a client and a psychotherapist. All information discussed within the client- therapist relationship, including records, is confidential and will not be revealed to anyone without your written permission. However there are several important situations when I am legally and ethically required to go outside the context of the therapeutic relationship. These are:
a.) If you communicate to me a serious threat of violence toward someone, I must warn that person and the police.
b.) If I have reasonable suspicion that a child, a dependent adult, or an elder is being abused, I must report it to the appropriate agency.
c.) If during a legal proceeding a client brings into evidence his or her own psychotherapy, the court will waive privilege in requesting therapy records, as well as the possible testimony from the therapist.
There are some instances in which I have the legal option of going outside the therapeutic relationship. These are:
a.) If I believe a client is a danger to himself or herself or others, or is gravely disabled, I must do whatever I can within the limits of the law to ensure that that person is not injured, does not injure others, and receives proper medical care. Under these circumstances I may communicate with the persons you list on this form as emergency contacts, and/or I may arrange for the client to be transported to the hospital.
b.) If a client refuses to pay his or her balance, the necessary information can be given to a collection agency or to a small claims court.
While all the above limits to confidentiality apply in the case of couples therapy, each member of a couple must keep in mind the following additional considerations: when one partner communicates with me individually (without the presence of the other), whether by phone, letter, or in person, confidentiality will not apply between members of the couple. I will use my clinical judgment when deciding to reveal such information.
Disclosure of confidential information may be required by your health insurance carrier in order to process the claims. Only the minimum necessary information will be communicated to the carrier. I have no control over, or knowledge of what insurance companies do with the information, or who has access to it.