In all but a few rare situations, your confidentiality (that is, your privacy) is protected by state law and by the rules of my profession. Here are the most common cases in which confidentiality is not protected:
- If you were sent to me by a court or an employer for evaluation or treatment, the court or employer expects a report from me. If this is your situation, please talk with me before you tell me anything you do not want the court or your employer to know. You have a right to tell me only what you are comfortable with telling.
- If you are suing someone or being sued, or are you being charged with a crime? If so, and you tell the court that you are seeing me, I may then be ordered to show the court your records. Please consult your lawyer about these issues.
- If you make a serious threat to harm yourself or another person, the law requires me to try to protect you and or the other person. This usually means telling others about the threat. I cannot promise never to tell others about threats you make.
- If I believe a child and or adult has been or will be abused or neglected, I am legally required to report this to the authorities.
Except for the situations I have described above, my office staff and I will always maintain your privacy and make every effort to keep the names and records of clients private. If your records need to be seen by another professional, or anyone else, I will discuss them with you. If you agree to share these records, you will need to sign a release form. This form states exactly what information is to be shared, with whom, and why, and it also sets time limits. You may read this form at any time. If you have questions, please ask me.
As part of cost control efforts, an insurance company will sometimes ask for more information on symptoms, diagnoses, and my treatment methods. It will become part of your permanent clinical record. I will let you know if this should occur and what the company has asked to review. Please understand I have no control over how these records are handled at the insurance company. My policy is to provide only as much information as the insurance company will need to pay your benefits.
You can review your own records in my files at any time. You may add to them or correct them, and you can have copies of them. I ask you to understand and agree that you may not examine records created by anyone else that were sent to me.
In some very rare situations, I may temporarily remove parts of your records before you see them. This would happen if I believe the information will be harmful to you, but I will discuss this with you.