In general, the privacy of all communications between a patient and a psychologist is protected by law, and information about our work can only be released with your written permission. But there are a few important exceptions under California Law.
1) If a client seems dangerous to him or herself, then it may be necessary to seek hospitalization.
2) If a therapist suspects child abuse or neglect, or abuse of a dependent adult or elder, a report must be made to the designated agency. This is a mandate, not an option.
3) If a client communicates a serious threat of harm to an identifiable person, the therapist has a “duty to protect” which may include warning that person and the police.
4) If a therapist receives a subpoena or court order asking for information or records, the information must be provided.
5) If a client is involved in any legal action where the client’s mental health is an issue, the client may not be able to keep his/her records private in court. If this situation arises, an attorney should be consulted.
6) If a client uses insurance, the company will usually ask for a diagnosis and in some cases a treatment plan and progress notes. Should you choose to use your insurance, we will discuss the particulars of your policy.
All of us practice from the belief that clear and honest communication with our clients is high priority. This means that if any of the previous situations were to arise, you would be informed immediately before any action was taken, and included in the plan to follow. Please talk with your therapist with any concerns.