In order for therapy to truly be effective, you need to be vulnerable during your therapy sessions. This may mean sharing secrets or talking about past experience that you’ve never shared with anyone else. Your therapist becomes your confidant – someone you can talk to about anything and everything.
This begs the question: are therapy sessions confidential? Read on to learn more about privacy policies for counseling appointments.
How Therapists Protect Your Privacy
Confidentiality is part of a therapist’s code of ethics, as outlined by the American Psychological Association. As long as you are working with a licensed psychologist, your privacy is strictly protected. The information you share during your therapy sessions remains completely confidential unless you provide expressed consent to share it.
There are HIPAA privacy guidelines for therapy notes, which further ensures your confidentiality. This is a bare minimum requirement though. Many states and independent practices have even stricter guidelines to protect therapy patients. Here at CNLD Testing & Therapy, we go above and beyond to make our clients feel safe and protected during their mental health journey.
Are Teletherapy Appointments Confidential?
Teletherapy appointments are slightly different than in-person appointments because the therapy session occurs by phone or video chat. This happens on a secure platform, so your confidentiality is protected within the program itself. The room that you’re in may or may not be private, depending on where you are. This is beyond the therapist’s control, but we can recommend the best places and times to have private teletherapy sessions. (Example: Locked room in your house when no one else is home)
Exceptions to the Rule – When Your Information May Be Shared
There are rare occasions when select information from therapy needs to be shared with another confidential party. These exceptions include:
- Reports of ongoing domestic violence, abuse or child neglect
- Court-ordered record releases, usually when a person’s mental health is relevant to a court case
- Circumstances where the safety of others or the person may be at stake, such as thoughts of suicide or harmful behavior toward others
- Coordinating care with a primary care physician or another mental health provider
- Results of psychological evaluations, as needed for special accommodations
In all of these situations, the recipient of the information is responsible for protecting your confidentiality. And in most cases, you will have to provide permission to share your information with the other party (aside from legal proceedings).
Can I Talk to Other People about My Therapy Sessions?
What you choose to share about your therapy journey is entirely up to you. Some people benefit from telling loved ones what they learned in therapy, what they discussed with their counselor, and what tools they’ve developed along the way. Others benefit more from keeping this information private.
You may not feel comfortable telling anyone about your therapy sessions. That’s OK! If someone asks, you can tell them, “I’d rather not discuss that.” You are in control of your information and who you choose to relay it to.