The law protects the relationship between a client and a psychotherapist, and information cannot be disclosed without written permission. Exceptions include:
Suspected child abuse or dependant adult or elder abuse, for which it is required by law to be reported to the appropriate authorities immediately.
- If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person/s, police will be immediatley notified by this office and the intended victim informed.
- If a client intends to harm himself or herself, every effort will be made to enlist their cooperation in ensuring their safety. If they do not cooperate, further measures will be taken without their permission that are provided by law in order to ensure your safety.
Danger to self or others: All states allow a therapist to reveal the name of a client who is deemed a real and present danger to self (e.g., suicide) or others. Some states even require that the therapist warn or attempt to protect the person against whom the threats are being made.
Abuse of children, elderly, or mentally or physically handicapped: In most states a therapist is required to report credible knowledge of current or past abuse. This applies to situations in which the client is the one who was abused as well as to situations in which the client is the abuser.
Collection of debt: If you fail to settle an account balance for your therapeutic treatment, your name and the amount you owe can be made known to a collection agency.
Defense of malpractice or professional complaint: If you were to allege that your therapist engaged in malpractice or some other unethical act, the therapist has the right to disclose information from your sessions in their defense of your charges.
For more information click on the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)