I treat any information shared with me during sessions with great respect and confidentiality. You are entitled to confidentiality and that privilege is protected both by State law and by the American Counseling Association's code of ethics. Your verbal communication and clinical records are strictly confidential except for:
information you and/or your child or children report about physical or sexual abuse of a minor or an elder person; in such cases I am obligated by Maryland State Law, West Virginia State Law and Ohio State Law to report this information to the proper authorities
if you provide information that informs me that you are in danger of harming yourself or others
where you sign a release to have specific information shared with your insurance company to process your claims.
If you are in treatment with another clinician, such as a physician who is monitoring medication, I will ask for your permission to speak with him or her so as to facilitate optimal treatment. In rare situations, Licensed Professional Counselors can be ordered by a judge to share client's records.
The law protects the privacy of counseling records, except in the highly unusual circumstances like a court order or an emergency. No one can see your health or counseling record unless a written authorization is signed by you, your parent if you are a minor, or your legal guardian. Laws and standards of my profession require that I keep clinical records of each client in a safe and secure manner. You are entitled to examine and/or receive a copy of your records if you request it in writing. Because these are professional records, they can be misinterpreted or cause distress to people who are not mental health professionals. Therefore, if you want to see your records, I recommend that you review them with me so we can discuss the contents.
With your written authorization, I may ask to review your previous records (e.g., counseling, school, police, medical, military, etc.). When needed, such action can help the counselor to identify important patterns which the client may be unaware of or disinclined to discuss. Often a review of previous counseling records will indicate what types of treatment were attempted, what has been ineffective, and what has worked for the client. A counselor can gain increased clarity of the immediate concern based upon an improved understanding of previous stressors or transitions leading to the client's current condition.