In general, the privacy of all communications between a client and a psychotherapist is protected, and I can only release information about our work to others with your written permission.
But there are a few exceptions.
There are some situations in which I am legally obligated to take action to protect others from harm, even if I have to reveal some information about a client’s treatment. For example, if I believe that a child, elderly person or disabled person is being abused, I must file a report with the appropriate agency.
If I believe that a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another, I am required to take protective actions. These actions may include notifying the potential victim, contacting the police, or seeking hospitalisation for the client. If the client threatens to harm himself/herself, I may be obligated to seek hospitalisation for him/her or to contact family members or others who can help provide protection.
I may be compelled to break confidentiality by a court of law.
Sometimes the client gives consent for a confidence to be broken, for instance where the material is used for research and / or publication. In such instances all reasonable steps will be taken to ensure the anonymity of the client.
These situations rarely occur in practice. If such a situation occurs, I will make every effort to fully discuss it with you before taking any action.
All therapists are obliged to partake in Clinical Supervision. This is where I consult other professional about a case. During this process, the identity of my client is not revealed. The consultant is also legally bound to keep the information confidential. If you don’t object, I will not tell you about these consultations unless I feel that it is important to our work together.
To protect your confidentiality as a patient, if we should happen to see each other in public, I will not acknowledge you unless you acknowledge me first.
While this written summary of exceptions to confidentiality should prove helpful in informing you, it is important that we discuss any questions or concerns that you may have at our initial interview.