Living with Courage
All that is shared in a counseling session remains private. You can trust that all communications related to counseling will be held in the strictest confidence unless you request otherwise. In some cases it is appropriate and helpful to release information about your treatment to another health professional and you will be asked to provide written permission to do so. In this digital age, many therapist maintain online records where your privacy is accessible within hospital systems. I do not participate in online record keeping.
Double confidentiality means that your counselor agrees to never speak of what is shared outside of a session to anyone. However, double confidentiality means that she also agrees to refrain from acknowledging your professional relationship outside the session. For example, should you see your counselor in the grocery store, she will not pursue acknowledgment or a greeting, unless you seek such a moment. In a community this size where occasional paths may cross, double confidentiality allows you the freedom to know your story is in a safe place. The hope is that double confidentiality helps set the necessary context for you to speak your truth as freely as possible.
There are exceptions or limits to confidentiality, as by law, clinical social workers are required to report instances of suspected child, elder abuse and neglect. When a client presents a serious danger of physical violence to another person or when a client is dangerous to him or herself the social worker will seek assistance. In these extreme circumstances, the health and welfare of the client becomes the primary concern and confidentiality becomes secondary.
All communications with clients who are minors (under 18 years of age) are confidential. However, parents and other guardians who provide authorization for their child’s treatment are often involved in their treatment. Consequently, your counselor, in the exercise of her professional judgment, may discuss the treatment progress of a minor patient with the parent or caretaker. Client who are minors and their parents are urged to discuss any questions or concerns that they have on this topic with their counselor.