In general, the confidentiality of all communications between a client and a psychologist is protected by law, and I can only release information about our work to others with your written permission. However, there are number of exceptions.
In most judicial proceedings, you have the right to prevent me from providing any information about your treatment. However, in some circumstances such as child custody proceedings and proceedings in which your emotional condition is an important element, a judge may require my testimony if he/she determines that resolution of the issues before he/she demands it.
There are some situations in which I am legally required to take action to protect others from harm, even though that requires revealing some information about a client’s treatment. For example, if I believe that a child, an elderly person, or a disabled person is being abused, I must file a report with the appropriate state agency.
If I believe that a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another, I am required to take protective actions, which may include notifying the potential victim, notifying the police, or seeking appropriate hospitalization. If a client threatens to harm him/herself, I may be required to seek hospitalization for the client, or to contact family members or others who can help provide protection.
If you are under the age of 18, please be aware that the law may provide your parents with the right to examine your treatment records. It is my policy to request an agreement from parents that they consent to give up access to your records. If they agree, I will provide them only with general information about our work together unless I feel that there is a high risk that you will seriously harm yourself or another, in which case I will notify them with my concern. Before contacting them, I will discuss the matter with you, if possible, and will do the best I can to resolve any objections you may have about what I am prepared to discuss.