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  1. #1

    Patient therapist Confidentiality

    To what extent is therapy confidential? Besides things like child abuse or endangerment are there ever any circumstance where a therapist would release any information the patient said in confidence? For example I was thinking specifically of involvment with drugs or something along those lines (with no children involved). What happens to the therapy notes? Does the insurance company or anyone else ever get to see them? Is there a possibility of this information ever resurfacing later?
    Thank you very much for any information!

  2. #2

    Re: Patient therapist Confidentiality

    Quote Originally Posted by Toeless
    To what extent is therapy confidential? Besides things like child abuse or endangerment are there ever any circumstance where a therapist would release any information the patient said in confidence? For example I was thinking specifically of involvment with drugs or something along those lines (with no children involved).
    There are only three conditions under which confidential information can be released without your explicit authorization (usually written):

    1. evidence of a significant risk of imminent harm to yourself or to another person

    2. evidence of recent or ongoing child abuse or risk to the welfare of a child

    3. a court order for release of the clinical record to the court

    Beyond these exceptions, if a psychologist were to release any information without your consent, s/he would be liable for damages in civil litigation and in all probablility would lose his or her license to contue in practice.

    What happens to the therapy notes?
    They must be retained for a period of at least 10 years by the psychologist. Following that, they may be disposed of via shredding, etc.

    Does the insurance company or anyone else ever get to see them?
    Not without your written authorization.

    Is there a possibility of this information ever resurfacing later?
    Not unless you authorize the release of that information or via one of the three conditions listed above.

  3. #3

    Patient therapist Confidentiality

    Dr. Baxter,
    Thank you so much for giving me such a thorough answer so quickly. It is so generous of you to share your time and expertise with so many people. I'm finding this site extremely helpful and an excellent resource. This site has definitely been a bright spot during hard times. Specifically I really enjoy reading all of your posts. They are all so rational, complete and to the point. Thank you again.

  4. #4

    Patient therapist Confidentiality

    Thank you for those kind words, Toeless. I'm pleased you find the forum helpful... :o)

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