I share office space with colleagues, where each of us conducts our own therapy practices without employees or subcontractors. I am responsible for handling all of my own telephone calls, billing, and maintain my own files. Voice mail is password protected and retrieved electronically and not by answering machine. The office suite is even set up so that I have a separate door for you to exit to the hallway should you prefer not to return to the waiting room when your therapy appointment is over.
I speak to no one about you unless I have your permission and authorization to do so. This might be to coordinate psychological care with your referring physician. Under such circumstances I will have you sign a form that authorizes consent for such communication to take place. I cannot even speak to your spouse, life partner, family, or friends without your permission. There are certain circumstances where I must breach confidentiality, which have to do with your own personal safety and/or the safety of others. Please review the limitations of confidentiality that I have documented for you.
Limitations of Confidentiality
In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a patient and a psychotherapist. Information is not disclosed without written permission. However, there are a number of exceptions to this rule. Exceptions include:
- Suspected child abuse or dependent adult or elder abuse. The therapist is required by law to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
- If a patient is threatening serious bodily harm to another person/s. The therapist must notify the police and inform the intended victim.
- If a client intends to harm himself or herself. The therapist will do everything possible to enlist their cooperation in insuring their safety. If they do not cooperate, further measures may be taken without their permission in order to ensure their safety.
- Court Orders: Health care professionals are required by law to release records of clients when a court order has been placed.