Anything said in therapy is confidential and may not be revealed to a third party without written authorization, except for the following limitations:
- Child Abuse: Child abuse and/or neglect, which include but are not limited to domestic violence in the presence of a child, child on child sexual acting out/abuse, physical abuse, etc. If you reveal information about child abuse or child neglect, I am required by law to report this to the appropriate authority.
- Vulnerable Adult Abuse: Vulnerable adult abuse or neglect. If information is revealed about vulnerable adult or elder abuse, I am required by law to report this to the appropriate authority.
- Self-Harm: Threats, plans or attempts to harm oneself. I am permitted to take steps to protect the client’s safety, which may include disclosure of confidential information.
- Harm to Others: Threats regarding harm to another person. If you threaten bodily harm or death to another person, I am required by law to report this to the appropriate authority.
- Court Orders & Legal Issued Subpoenas: If I receive a subpoena for your records, I will contact you so you may take whatever steps you deem necessary to prevent the release of your confidential information. I will contact you twice by phone. If I cannot get in touch with you by phone, I will send you written correspondence. If a court of law issues a legitimate court order, I am required by law to provide the information specifically described in the order. Despite any attempts to contact you and keep your records confidential, I am required to comply with a court order.
- Law Enforcement and Public health: A public health authority that is authorized by law to collect or receive such information for the purpose of preventing or controlling disease, injury, or disability; to a health oversight agency for oversight activities authorized by law, including audits; civil, administrative, or criminal investigations; inspections; licensure or disciplinary actions; civil, administrative, or criminal proceedings or action; limited information (such as name, address DOB, dates of treatment, etc.) to a law enforcement official for the purpose of identifying or locating a suspect, fugitive, material witness, or missing person; and information that your clinician believes in good faith establishes that a crime has been committed on the premises.
- Governmental Oversight Activities: To an appropriate agency information directly relating to the receipt of health care, claim for public benefits related to mental health, or qualification for, or receipt of, public benefits or services when a your mental health is integral to the claim for benefits or services, or for specialized government functions such as fitness for military duties, eligibility for VA benefits, and national security and intelligence.
- Upon Your Death: To a law enforcement official for the purpose of alerting of your death if there is a suspicion that such death may have resulted from criminal conduct; to a coroner or medical examiner for the purpose of identifying a deceased person, determining a cause of death, or other duties as authorized by law.
- Victim of a Crime: Limited information, in response to a law enforcement official's request for information about an you if you are suspected to be a victim of a crime; however, except in limited circumstances, we will attempt to get your permission to release information first.
- Court Ordered Therapy: If therapy is court ordered, the court may request records or documentation of participation in services. I will discuss the information and/or documentation with you in session prior to sending it to the court.
- Written Request: Clients must sign a release of information form before any information may be sent to a third party. A summary of visits may be given in lieu of actual “psychotherapy/process notes”, except if the third party is part of the medical team. If therapy sessions involve more than one person, each person over the age of 18 MUST sign the release of information before information is released.
- Fee Disputes: In the case of a credit card dispute, I reserve the right to provide the necessary documentation (i.e. your signature on the “Therapy Consent & Agreement” that covers the cancellation policy to your bank or credit card company should a dispute of a charge occur. If there is a financial balance on account, a bill will be sent to the home address on the intake form unless otherwise noted.
- Couples Counseling & “No Secret” Policy: When working with couples, all laws of confidentiality exist. I request that neither partner attempt to triangulate me into keeping a “secret” that is detrimental to the couple's therapy goal. If one partner requests that I keep a “secret” in confidence, I may choose to end the therapeutic relationship and give referrals for other therapists as our work and your goals then become counter-productive. However, if one party requests a copy of couples or family therapy records in which they participated, an authorization from each participant (or their representatives and/or guardians) in the sessions before the records can be released.
- Dual Relationships & Public: Our relationship is strictly professional. In order to preserve this relationship, it is imperative that there is no relationship outside of the counseling relationship (ie: social, business, or friendship). If we run into each other in a public setting, I will not acknowledge you as this would jeopardize confidentiality. If you were to acknowledge me, your confidentiality could be at risk.
- Social Media: No friend requests on our personal social media outlets (Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) will be accepted from current or former clients. If you choose to comment on our professional social media pages or posts, you do so at your own risk and may breach confidentiality. I cannot be held liable if someone identifies you as a client. Posts and information on social media are meant to be educational and should not replace therapy. Please do not contact me through any social media site or platform. They are not confidential, nor are they monitored, and may become part of medical record.
- Policy on Confidentiality for Child Clients: In working with child clients, though legally the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) of child clients age appropriate privacy is essential relationship and setting for a child’s therapy, we do honor what the child does or says in our sessions as confidential while providing parents and/or legal guardians summaries of treatment goals, plan and progress as well as recommendations.
- Treatment of Minors in Counseling: Individuals (under age 18) in therapy are seen only with permission from his or her parents or guardian. A child will be seen only with written permission and/or acknowledgement of both parents. Children of divorce must have signed permission from BOTH parents to attend counseling. Participation from both parents, regardless of the custodial arrangement, is the preferred practice of this office. A COPY OF THE PARENTING PLAN MUST BE INCLUDED IN THE CLIENT FILE INDICATING THE CUSTODIAL ARRANGEMENT PRIOR TO THE FIRST SESSION WITH THE MINOR CHILD. In any custodial arrangement, both parents have the right to contact the therapist and inquire regarding their child’s treatment progress (unless otherwise indicated by the courts).
Age of Majority:
1) Once a client turns 18, they are no longer considered a minor for purposed of mental health treatment. At that time, they will be required to sign all new consent to treatment forms and will be solely responsible for their treatment.
2) In the state of Tennessee, a minor who is 14 has the privacy of non-disclosure of anything sexual or drug related outside of the counseling setting. In this situation, the minor will be encouraged to speak with their parent/guardian at that time.
3) In the state of Tennessee, a child that turns 16 can request to be considered an adult and no longer have their parents involved in therapy.
- Electronic Communication: If you need to contact me outside of our sessions, please do so via phone.
- Clients often use text or email as a convenient way to communicate in their personal lives. However, texting introduces unique challenges into the therapist–client relationship. Texting is not a substitute for sessions. Texting is not confidential. Phones can be lost or stolen. DO NOT communicate sensitive information over text. The identity of the person texting is unknown as someone else may have possession of the client’s phone.
- Do not use email for emergencies. In the case of an emergency call 911, your local emergency hotline or go to the nearest emergency room. Additionally, e-mail is not a substitute for sessions. If you need to be seen, please call to book an appointment.
- E-mail is not confidential. Do not communicate sensitive medical or mental health information via email. Furthermore, if you send email from a work computer, your employer has the legal right to read it. E-mail is a part of your medical record. Sessions Outside the Office: From time to time, clients like to meet in an alternate location (i.e. their home, in public, or somewhere more conducive for them). We may be able to accommodate this request, however, this can put your confidentiality at risk.