The law protects the privacy of all communications between a patient and a psychologist. In most situations, Mindful Psychology and Wellness, LLC can only release information about your treatment to others if you sign a written Authorization form that meets certain legal requirements. There are exceptions to confidentiality between psychologist and patient. If a therapist suspects physical and/or sexual abuse on a patient or by a patient, the therapist is required by the professional code of ethics of his/her profession and the law to report such abuse.
If the therapist has reasonable cause to suspect child abuse or neglect, the law requires that we file a report with Child Protective Services. Once a report is filed, we may be required to provide additional information. If we have reasonable cause to suspect the “criminal abuse” of an adult patient, we must report it to the police. Once a report is filed, we may be required to provide additional information. Finally, a therapist is ethically responsible for warning an identified person or group of people if there is reasonable suspicion of harmful intent and the patient has the apparent ability to carry out the threat in the foreseeable future. These actions may include notifying the potential victim (or, if the victim is a minor, his/her parents) and contacting the police, and/or seeking hospitalization for the patient. In case of danger to him or herself, the client’s safety must be ensured. It is the therapist’s ethical and legal obligation to break confidentiality so that proper care may be instituted. Urgent care may include emergency admission to a hospital or mental health facility. The laws governing confidentiality can be quite complex. In situations where specific advice is required, formal legal advice may be needed.