|What Are The Exceptions
By: Mentor Research Institute
Revised; June 20, 2000
Confidentiality is not absolute and there are circumstances in which
information can or must be released. These exceptions will vary depending on
the type of professional you work with.
Under certain circumstances certain information may
or must be revealed or released to others. The following are examples of exceptions that
may apply:If your therapist or counselor is subpoenaed and
ordered to testify in a court of law and their objections are overruled. This happens in
very few instances and typically occurs in legal proceedings involving child custody, law
suits in which services you received are considered to be evidence in a court of law, or
charges involving certain types of criminal behavior.
- If you request that your counselor
or therapist communicate with someone, you will normally be asked to sign a "Release
of Information" and to specify what can be communicated and for how long the release
will remain in effect.
- If your therapist believes that abuse or harm has been done to a
child or to an elderly person. This would involve situations where they find it is
necessary to report this information to proper authorities. For more information see
the content on Abuse.
They can only release
that information that is necessary to protect or insure your health and safety.
- If your therapist or counselor believe that you are dangerous to
yourself, or another person, and it is necessary to take steps to protect you or the
safety of others.
- If during a medical emergency your therapist or counselor needs to
reveal information that is necessary to protect or insure your health and safety.
They can only release that information necessary to protect or insure you health and
- If you are a minor, or a minor that is not emancipated, a therapist
or counselor may be required to advise or involve your parents or guardian in your
treatment. There are circumstance in which a psychotherapist is not required to
notify the parents of a minor.
If you have any questions, concerns, or confusion
regarding your rights to confidentiality, or any potential exception, you should discuss
this with your counselor or therapist. Your counselor or
psychotherapist should provide you with a written statement regarding their policy and the
law pertaining to their profession. Licensed Counselors and Social Workers are
required by state law to provide a comprehensive statement of their services and policies.
- If your therapist or counselor must take action to collect a debt
incurred for services, your name and the amount of your debt may be revealed to a