Appointments at the Center are strictly confidential. Any and all communications between counselor and client are privileged and safe-guarded by law. Information is not released to anyone (parents, professors, employers, or authorities) without your student's written permission.
In the state of Massachusetts, the confidential relations and communications between licensed psychologists and their clients are placed upon the same basis as those provided by law between attorney and client.
Some exceptions to the restrictions, which allow for breaching a student's right to confidentiality:
- If there is a risk of imminent harm to a student or another person (e.g., a serious intent to commit suicide or homicide), therapists have a legal and ethical obligation to protect life.
- Therapists must release information when a subpoena from a court of law orders them to do so.
- If we believe a child, elderly person, or mentally disabled person is being abused, therapists are mandated by law to report the abuse.
- If a student is judged to be in a medical crisis, therapists may provide necessary medical information (e.g., about medications) to medical personnel.
Can the counselor call me to keep me updated on how treatment is going?
We cannot discuss any information about your student without a written release giving specific permission to do so. Students can sign a Release of Information form, which allows the counselor to verify attendance, report on progress, or discuss aspects of the therapy. We encourage you to ask your child to sign a release if you want reports about attendance or progress. We also encourage students to communicate directly with their parents about their treatment.
On occasion we ask that the student arrange for his or her parents to attend a counseling session or arrange for a phone conference. Our psychiatrist will occasionally ask a student to have his or her parent come in to provide a better developmental history.
We do not initiate calls to parents unless a student requests the call be made or we determine, due to immediate safety concerns, it is in the best interest of the student to call a parent.
What if I want to share information about my child or inquire about how they are doing?
Although we cannot give out information to parents unless the student has signed a release, we can listen to parents' concerns. Frequently parents do have insights into the situation that are helpful to the student and to the process of therapy. We will let your student know you have called (and we will present your involvement/concerns in a positive way) and attempt to help them with the issues raised.