|Privacy, Confidentiality and Privilege
Revised: February 21, 2007
The following is an outline of general guidelines that are intended to sensitize and educate readers to the complexities of privacy, confidentiality and privilege. The information outlined below is not intended to substitute for or replace the importance of informed legal advice. The issue of privacy, confidentiality and privilege is complicated.
Services provided to clients and patients are generally treated as private. This means the professionals and their support staff should take reasonable steps based on appropriate standards of practice to insure they do not reveal your identity, discuss information, or reveal the content of their communications with others. Privacy is not a statutory protection, but rather a professional relationship. Information is not confidential if you are not in a treatment relationship.
Confidentiality is a legal protection and assurance of your right to privacy to the fullest extent allowable by state law. Psychotherapy, counseling, assessment and associated services that are related to diagnosis and treatment are confidential and protected in accordance with State law. Patient confidentiality applies only to those aspects related to a diagnostic and treatment relationship with you.
Attorney Client Privilege
Privilege is generally considered a legal protection and an assurance of your right to privacy as part of an attorney-client relationship. Any services provided as a consultation in connection to an attorney-client relationship is considered privileged and protected to the fullest extent allowable by state law. This usually applies in connection to legal or criminal proceeding in which a psychologist or psychiatrist is consulting with your attorney.
If you request that that your counselor or
therapist communicate with someone, you will normally be asked to sign a "Release of
Information" and to specify what can be communicated and for how long the release
will remain in effect. It is often a policy for many professionals that some information
cannot be kept private. Under certain circumstances certain information may be revealed or
released to others for legal or ethical reasons. The following are examples of exceptions
that may apply:
If you have any questions, concerns, or confusion regarding your rights to privacy, or any potential exception, please discuss this with your attorney or treatment professional.