What prevents people from seeing a therapist is the fear that the information they tell them will get out. It should ease the worries of every client that therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists are to protect their client’s privacy by not revealing anything you discuss in therapy. Unless a client talks about something that can cause harm to you or others, a mental health professional is not allowed to tell anyone what you say during therapy, according to the law. Client confidentiality is a top priority.
Mental Health Professionals
Mental health professionals are not just supposed to protect what you talk about in therapy from getting out. They are also not allowed to tell anyone that their client is in therapy. Clients go through huge emotional rollercoasters. You may also talk about traumatic events. A therapist always wants their clients to tell them everything that is going on with them and to be able to trust them. If they do not, they will not get the full amount of support that they are seeking for successful treatment. The information between a therapist and a client needs to stay confidential. Phone crisis counselors or life coaches are not legally required to protect their client’s confidentiality. They will not reveal any information that identifies their clients. Without trust, there is no point in counseling.
Therapists will also not acknowledge clients if they run into them outside of therapy or follow them on social media to protect their client confidentiality. They will not reveal any information on voicemail unless the client permits them. They will also not acknowledge their appointment with their client to any third parties without permission. It is essential for therapists to keep their end of the client confidentiality agreement or will get in trouble with the state licensing boards or sued by their clients. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act is a privacy rule that creates national standards to protect medical records and personal health information. A psychologist will give their clients a written report on their privacy policies and how they will manage their personal information.
Exceptions to the Rule
Therapists are supposed to hold the secrets of all of their clients. However, there are exceptions to the rule. A therapist is allowed to break consent to protect a patient or the public from any harm. For instance, if a client threatens to kill themselves or to hurt someone else, the therapist will have to report it. Therapists also have the power to report ongoing domestic violence or any neglect of children, the elderly, or someone with a disability. A therapist can keep their client’s confidentiality if they have told you they have suffered abuse as a child. If that abuse is continuing with other children, only then are they allowed to break the confidentiality agreement. Confidentiality can also be released if a therapist has received a court order if a client’s mental health has come into question during the legal proceeding.
A therapist can share their information about a client’s diagnosis and treatment with the client’s health insurance company or government program, like Medicaid or Medicare, that is paying for treatment to determine what care needs to be covered. The insurance companies will keep this information confidential. If a client decides to pay out of pocket and not ask their insurance companies for reimbursement, the insurance company will not know you are in therapy. Whenever they have to break your confidentiality, therapists have to ask their client for consent. In most cases, when it comes to minors, a therapist usually involves the parents in their child’s therapy process.
A Minor’s Rights
A therapist may give their parent information about their broad treatment goals and how their progress is going without giving specifics unless needed. Therapists will provide ground rules for the type of information that they will share with their parents. For example, if a minor has committed risky behaviors, a therapist will tell their client their parents will know about it. A therapist can also encourage to have an interview with the client’s spouse to learn about their home life. They can even speak to a child’s teacher to know why they are doing poorly in school. A therapist usually cannot contact anyone else in their client’s life without a client’s written consent.
As a Client, You’re in Control
Remember that as a client, you are in control of how much you share. The more you share, the more your therapist will be able to help you. For example, if you are going to therapy for addiction and the reason you are self-medicating is because of past trauma, you need to tell your therapist so that you can be diagnosed not only with addiction but with PTSD. This way, you will get an accurate treatment plan. A therapist is there to make your life easier. They will not make it harder by sharing personal information.
Explain to your client before starting therapy sessions with them about when to break confidentiality for no misunderstandings. Trust is vital when it comes to seeking help. A medical professional should not break your trust unless it can cause harm to anyone.
Choose Bayview Recovery Center
At Bayview Recovery, commit ourselves to your care. If you struggle with addiction, anxiety, or depression, we are available to treat you. One of our highest priorities is confidentiality. Our facility is in Tacoma, Washington. Our mission is to offer clinically-driven programs and services to treat your disorders. We use cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, trauma therapy, yoga therapy, and more to give you a successful recovery. For more information, please call us at 855.345.0744 at any time of day. We are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.