As a licensed professional, I am legally and ethically bound to protect all information you share with me, through this website or other business activities conducted by me or my employees. At no time will your personal contact information and/or questions and concerns be shared with or sold to anyone else.
NOTE: Please be advised that "commonly asked questions" may contain information that is similar to something you've shared. However, all generalized responses are based on a combined case study and in no way reflect a single client. If you have any questions or concerns about any information you view on this website, please CONTACT ME and request an explanation.
The law protects the information you share with a counselor. The only time information about you can be provided to another person or agency is under the following conditions:
1. You provide WRITTEN consent,
2. You or someone else is in danger of serious harm or death,
3. The counselor has reason to suspect child abuse.
In some cases, counselors can also be compelled to release certain records for legal procedings. This requires a subpoena.
The Pros and Cons
On the one (and most obvious) hand, protecting your privacy is a key element of a successful counseling experience. Most people want to know that the information they share in therapy will be kept private and that their counselor will not disclose that information to anyone else.
However, one of the issues that privacy laws don't provide for is "common sense." For example, let's say you drop off your child for his weekly session, but you are unable to pick him up for some unexpected reason. Not only can the counselor not release your child to a stranger, she cannot legally acknowledge to that stranger that she even knows your child. Imagine the confusion!
Release of Information
If there are people with which your counselor will need to communicate (school, other family members, etc.), be sure to sign a release of information for those people. Your counselor will provide the forms. You can revoke that permission, at any time, with a simple phone call. Your counselor should write the word "VOID" across the release form and discontinue contact with that person, immediately. You can also limit or specifically identify the information you want shared with specific people, and you can change those limits at any time. When your treatment ends, your counselor's permission to release information is also terminated, unless you sign a new release with a new expiration date.
NEVER sign a release form that does not allow you to specify what information is to be released to what party. Never sign a release form that does not have an expiration date or that includes more than one party that information will be provided to. Your counselor should not encourage you to sign these types of documents, in the first place.