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    Bernard Meltzer, posted by HBas
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I'm just wondering who exactly sees a client's records? Because the closest counseling center to me is owned by our neighbors and I am wondering if I go there would they see what I talk about? They only own the center. They're not counselors or psychologists. I hope this makes sense. :wacko:
 

David Baxter

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Legally, the counselor/therapist and his/her mental health supervisior (NOT the landlord or building owner or business owner unless that person is also a licensed counselor/therapist) is responsible for maintaining records and maintaining the confidentiality of those records. I cannot guarantee that your neighbors would not be able to see your records but I can tell you that if they did it would be illegal - and if they did and you found out about it, you could sue their shoes off and close down the clinic.
 

comfortzone

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I agree with David. In our office, anyone who desires something out of a client's file has to go to the therapist first. It is either our choice to say "no" or if the request is something needed for other services then we make the copy of the desired materials so to reduce any unnecessary use of a client's chart. This is where I become part guard dog. I guard my client's information like it were my own.
 

Halo

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comfortzone said:
This is where I become part guard dog. I guard my client's information like it were my own.

I think that this is great comfortzone. I wished more people were like you and therefore giving us patients the safe feeling that we need. I know that for me it took a lot of guts to write my feelings and thoughts and give it to my therapist with the hope that only she would be the one to see it. I commend you on your attitute of being sort of like a guard dog. I think that anybody would be lucky to have you as their therapist. :goodjob:

Nancy
 

comfortzone

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Thank you Nancy! I appreciate your kind words. My name William fits me well...it means "Bold Protector." Trust is so important in any relationship. Thanks again!
 

David Baxter

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I think Bill's clients are lucky to have him as well.

But for those of you seeing other therapists, you should know that all therapists who are licensed by a regulatory board have a legal requirement to protect patient confientiality and to ensure the protection of their files. That's one of the reasons you should ask a new therapist about his or her credentials.

There is a proposal in Canada right now to prohibit anyone who does not belong to a regulatory licensing board from calling themselves "therapist", "counselor", etc. The way politicians work, it will probably be years before that is actually acted on but I do think it's a step in the right direction.
 
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Thank you both for the information. :) It is greatly appreciated.

David Baxter said:
But for those of you seeing other therapists, you should know that all therapists who are licensed by a regulatory board have a legal requirement to protect patient confientiality and to ensure the protection of their files. That's one of the reasons you should ask a new therapist about his or her credentials.

Does this have anything to do with the letters after someone's name? Like LPC?
 

comfortzone

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Yes Janet, those are the person's credentials. I would ask to make certain about the confidentiality within the business where your therapists are, as David mentioned.
 
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Thank you. :)
I will try to remember to ask. I do agree that trust would be so important.
 

JA

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Hi!

I just wanted to add that where I work, we inform clients of our confidentiality policy as soon as they walk in for their first appointment. Everyone is informed that besides the receptionist, who has access only to client's names and appointment times for practical purposes, the only person who can know anything about our meetings is my supervisor (because I'm just starting out) and me. If anyone else requests info, my clients have to sign a specific form, indicating what info I can give to the person and when. Besides that, there are limits to confidentiality (ie if the patient could be a danger to himself, for instance), where we divuldge info, but the client is familiarized with all of these at the begining of the first session.

Like Dr. Baxter said, it's hard to be 100% sure the owners can't have access, but they certainly have no legal right to (at least in Canada and I think US). Besides, in many clinics (and that's how it is where I work), patient files are locked and only the therapist has the key. Maybe it's like that at your neibour's clinics.

You could always call anonymously from a payphone and ask about it (pehaps say something like you know the owners, so you wonder about confidentiality?)
 

foghlaim

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just to throw something into the mix here, if that's ok.
while in hosppital, all the staff had access to my records, in one way it helped and another it made me angry, so i'm not sure what to make of it. Trust is one thing ihave to have if i'm to go to psychotherapy, which they said i need intensive and long, the 1st psych i saw, months ago had to hand the file over to the psych in the hospital and while i want to stay with the 1st guy, i'm not sure what to do.
only thing that gives me any consolation is that all the staff were professional ppl.

gotta go , visistor. sorry.
 

David Baxter

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Well, not quite all staff - just the health professionals (doctors, nurses, psychologists, social workers).

In a hospital, you don't really have a single therapist - you have a treatment team - and everyone on the treatment team has access to the records.
 
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What if a spouse or relative calls the therapist and says something like, "I believe she/he is a danger to herself/himself. I need information about...(whatever)" ?

What would happen?
 

Lana

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They still are not allowed to disclose any information. But they may ask the spouse what makes them think that. So in essence, the care provider will gain information, not give it away.
 

David Baxter

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Exactly. As a therapist, I can RECEIVE information from a spouse or family member (or friend or anyone else). But that does not entitle that person to get any information from me about the client unless I have the client's (written) consent.

I would also point out that when I do receive such infromation, I evaluate it and take it under consideration but I do not necessarily assume that it is true or accurate, no matter who it comes from.
 

comfortzone

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Hi Janet,

I agree with the others. I would not supply information either. However, I would mention if they think someone is in danger of harming themself that they should contact the proper authorities. This does not always mean that the police are going to take a person away unless there is clear evidence of the danger.
 

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