Is the information discussed in therapy kept private?
One of the most frequently asked questions about therapy is: “Will what I tell the therapist be kept private and confidential?” The answer is “yes.” You have a right to expect absolute privacy and confidentiality in therapy. Without your explicit consent, the therapist is prevented by law “HIPAA” from discussing information you share during your sessions with anyone else. Knowing and trusting that anything you say will be safely contained in the therapeutic space is essential to meaningful therapy.
Are there ever instances where my therapist can reveal what I tell them in therapy?
There are some limitations to confidentiality in therapy. The legal system acknowledges that there are times when the client, society or both can benefit from release of information. The circumstances in which confidentiality can be breached are defined by State and Federal case law “HIPAA”. The most common circumstances include:
Danger to Self or Others:
Texas law “HIPAA” requires that the counselor do what is necessary to protect life within the limits of the law. If you were to threaten your safety or the safety of others, it is in the right of your therapist to contact the appropriate authorities in order to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you.
Abuse of Children, Elderly, or Mentally or Physically Handicapped:
Texas law “HIPAA” requires that therapists who learn or have strong suspicion of child abuse or neglect report this to Child Protective Services or to law enforcement personnel. This pertains specifically to knowledge of child abuse or neglect to a client who is under 18 years of age; any child under 18 years of age suspected of being at risk of abuse or neglect; or abuse or neglect by a client towards a person who is under 18 years of age.
Elder abuse as well as abuse towards the mentally or physically ill will also be reported to the appropriate authorities .
Such disclosures in counseling of the above mentioned will be reported by your therapist and are not protected by confidentiality.
Third Party Reimbursements:
If your insurance coverage pays for any of the costs of your therapy, you are giving your consent for information such as your diagnosis and appointment dates to be shared with your insurance company.
Collection of Debt:
If you fail to settle an account balance for your therapeutic treatment, your name and the amount you owe can be made known to a collection agency.
Defense of Malpractice or Professional Complaint:
If you were to allege that your therapist engaged in malpractice or some other unethical act, the therapist has the right to disclose information from your sessions in their defense of your charges.