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Privacy Policies and Limits to Confidentiality

In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and a psychotherapist. Information is not disclosed without written permission.

However, there are number of exceptions to this rule. Exceptions include:

  • Suspected child abuse or dependent adult or elder abuse. The therapist is required by law to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
  • If a client is threatening serious and imminent bodily harm to another person/s. The therapist must notify the police and inform the intended victim.
  • If a client intends to harm himself or herself. The therapist will make every effort to enlist the client's cooperation to ensure the client's safety. If the client does not cooperate, further measures may be taken without the client's permission in order to ensure safety.
  • In therapy sessions involving individuals under the age of 18 the legal guardian has a right to access information discussed in therapy. The therapist, however will work with the family and/or guardian in order to establish a plan for disclosure of information as confidentiality is the premise of successful therapy.
  • If a judge orders the therapist to disclose information relevant to a court case involving the client. In most legal proceedings, the client has the right to prevent his/her therapy records to be disclosed. However, in some proceedings, a judge may order that the therapist disclose treatment information if the judge deems this information necessary to decide the case.
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