I strongly believe in and practice confidentiality. It is my legal and
moral duty to protect your privacy. However, I also have a duty under the
law to protect the wider community and myself.
Here are situations in which the law states that your confidentiality cannot
- If you are sent to me by a court for evaluation or treatment I
must submit a report to that court. If you are in this situation,
please talk with me before you tell me anything you do not want
the court to know. You have a right to tell me only what you are
- Are you suing someone or being sued? Are you being charged with
a crime? If so, and you tell the court that you are seeing me, I
may be ordered to show the court my records. Please consult your
lawyer about these issues.
- If you make a serious threat to harm yourself or someone else,
the law requires me to try to protect the threatened person. I cannot
promise never to tell others about threats you make.
- If I believe a child has been, or will be, abused or neglected,
I am legally required to report the situation to the authorities.
- If a court orders me to testify about you, I must.
In two other situations, I might talk about aspects of your situation
with another therapist. I ask for your understanding and agreement to
allow me to do so in the following situations:
- If I am away for a few days, I may have a trusted fellow therapist
cover for me. This therapist will be available to you. I will tell
the therapist only what he or she needs to know for an emergency.
Of course, this therapist is bound by the same confidentiality laws
and rules that I am.
- Sometimes I consult with other therapists or professionals. Your
name would never be given to them. They would be told only as much
as they need to know to understand your situation. Consultations
like these enable therapists to provide higher quality treatment.