What is client confidentiality?

Information that is shared during counselling is often explicitly personal. Your willingness to be truthful is fundamental to the success of our work together and must treated with the utmost respect.  All information provided to me during sessions, in writing, or over the telephone is kept strictly confidential and can only be released to others with your written consent.

However, there are three situations in which I may be required by law to release information to others without client consent:

  • If I believe that a child, elderly person, or disabled person is being abused, I may be required to file a report with the appropriate authorities.

  • If I believe that a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another, I may be required to take protective actions.

  • If the client threatens to harm himself/herself, I may be obligated to seek hospitalization for him/her or to contact family members or others who can help provide protection.

Additionally, in some legal proceedings involving child custody and those in which the client’s emotional condition is an important issue, a judge may order my testimony if he/she determines that the issues demand it.

These situations rarely occur. However, if a situation similar to those described above occurs, I will make every effort to fully discuss it with you before taking any action.

Counsellors occasionally find it helpful to consult other professionals about the clients they are working with. During such consultations, I make every effort to avoid revealing my client’s identity. The consultant is also legally bound to keep the information confidential.

I am very aware that we live in a smaller community. Thus, if you engage my services I will protect your anonymity should we happen to meet in public.

What happens at the first appointment?

Typically the first few sessions will involve evaluating your needs and collaborating on your goals. By the end of the evaluation, I will be able to offer you some first impressions of what our work will include and a counselling plan to follow. I suggest you evaluate the information I provide you along with your own opinions of whether you feel comfortable working with me.

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