One of the major concerns of people about undergoing therapy is the confidentiality of the sessions. Many individuals are wondering whether their therapists are allowed to discuss what happens during their meetings, whether it is made online or through personal interaction. Fortunately, the answer to this question is in the negative. If you want to learn more about the consequences of this confidentiality requirement for all therapists in the US, be sure to read the rest of this article.
What Does It Mean When All The Sessions Are Confidential?
All the conversations and activities that take place between you and your therapist are considered highly confidential. It must be noted that there is a fiduciary relationship between you and your professional therapist. This means that the relationship is somehow based on trust and confidence. As Dr. Mitch Keil, a clinical psychologist elaborates, “It is a healing process that allows people to not only start feeling better but gain insight, awareness, and ultimately begin trusting their intuition and experience.”
First of all, you have chosen the therapist because you trust her abilities to help you get over a difficult situation in your life. “You’re considering therapy because something doesn’t feel right. You want relief, healing, or increased insight.” Sarah Rumpf, MA, LPCC said. Second, you are confident that she will do things that are beneficial on your part. This fiduciary relationship ends the moment the therapist starts to disclose anything about your sessions.
Are There Certain Exceptions?
The general rule is to promote the confidentiality of all relevant and material data or information. However, this rule is not absolute. It admits certain exceptions, wherein the therapist may be allowed to reveal some details to necessary individuals. An excellent example of this is when he believes that you are in danger or if you can cause harm to other people. In this scenario, the therapist must report it to proper authorities to prevent an unfortunate event from taking place.
At the same time, your medical doctor and therapist can also discuss matters about your session and checkups. They can cross-reference certain information as long as the same is made to promote your interests. They are free to discuss any topic, especially if the aim is to facilitate fast recovery or treatment. Otherwise, they can be held liable for breaching confidentiality.
What Happens If There Is A Violation?
There are many possible effects when a particular therapist violates the requirement of confidentiality of clients’ records. He can be made a respondent in a civil case wherein you can demand the payment of damages. Take note that the award of damages is not automatic. There is still a need to show that the conduct of your therapist in revealing some records or documents resulted in embarrassment or harm on your part.
Before filing a case against the therapist, the right thing to do is to talk to him about it first. Try to get the reason first why he has breached his professional undertaking. He might have a good reason for doing so. However, if the situation has already gotten out of hand, the best alternative is to seek legal representation.
At this point, it is necessary to emphasize the fact that there are only a number of cases involving this kind of issue. This means that therapists can still be trusted. There is nothing to fear about this. Just make sure to choose the best therapist in town. Because according to Elana Schechtman-Gil LMF, “The foundation of therapy is based on the relationship you build with your therapist. When seeking someone out it’s important you feel comfortable with them.”