Adults: . All communications between you and your therapist will be held in strict confidence unless you provide written permission to release information about your treatment. If you participate in marital or family therapy, the therapist will not disclose confidential information about your treatment unless all persons who participated (in the treatment) with you provide their written authorization to release the information. In addition, your therapist will not disclose information communicated privately to him or her by one family member, to any other family member without written permission. Couples: There is a “No Secrets” policy that states that information shared by one member of a couple with the therapist, when the other member of the couple is not present, may be disclosed to the other partner at the therapist’s discretion and if it is in the best interest of the therapy.
Minors: The Federal and State laws relating to confidentiality and privilege for minors are often at odds and leave no clear indications of the rights of minors to confidentiality in psychotherapy. Best practice would suggest that the therapist make every effort to maintain the confidentiality of all children, including making the fact of that arrangement clear with the parents/care-givers during the initial session of psychotherapy. In addition, there are many variables that the therapist take into consideration in determining what is in the best interest of the minor, such as, the minor’s ability to participate maturely in treatment and the circumstances in each individual minor’s treatment.
Parents/legal guardians who provide authorization for their child’s treatment are often involved in their treatment. It should be noted, though, that when a child must be in psychotherapy, the success of the treatment usually requires (a) that the child have some privacy and that the parents not be told everything that happens in the treatment, and (b) that the parents be kept informed of the child’s progress and be notified of any imminent danger the child/adolescent reports or participates in.
Under state law, providers may refuse to provide parents or guardians access to a minor’s medical records when “the health care provider determines that access to the patient records requested by the [parent or guardian] would have a detrimental effect on the provider’s professional relationship with the minor patient or the minor’s physical safety or psychological well-being.” Cal. Health & Safety Code § 123115(a)(2).
Exceptions to Confidentiality:
*Suspected child abuse (physical, sexual or emotional)
*Dependent adult or elder abuse (physical, emotional or financial)
*If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person/s, the therapist must notify the police and inform the intended victim.
*If a client intends to harm himself/herself, the therapist will make every effort to enlist the client’s cooperation to ensure safety. If they do not cooperate, the therapist will take further measures without their permission that are provided to the therapist by law in order to ensure safety of client or others present.
*The Patriot Act of 2001 requires therapists (and others) in certain circumstances, to provide FBI agents with books, records, papers and documents along with other items and prohibits the therapist from disclosing to the client that the FBI sought or obtained the items under the Act.
Stockton | Lodi | Modesto | Tracy | Mantega | CA | California
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