Is the information discussed in therapy kept private?
YES. One of the most frequently asked questions about therapy is: "Will what I tell the therapist be kept private and confidential?" The answer is "yes." You have a right to expect absolute privacy and confidentiality in therapy. Without your explicit consent, the therapist is prevented, by law, from discussing information you share during your sessions with anyone else. It is essential for you to know and trust that anything you say will be safely contained in the therapeutic office.
Are there ever instances in which the therapist does reveal what a client tells them?
There are some limitations to confidentiality in therapy. The legal system acknowledges that there are times when the client, society or both can benefit from release of information. State and Federal case laws define the circumstances in which confidentiality can be breached. The most common circumstances include:
If your insurance coverage pays for any of the costs of your therapy, you are giving your consent for information such as your diagnosis and appointment dates to be shared with your insurance company.
Collection of debt:
If you fail to settle an account balance for your therapeutic treatment, your name and the amount you owe can be made known to a collection agency.
Defense of malpractice or professional complaint:
If you were to allege that your therapist engaged in malpractice or some other unethical act, the therapist has the right to disclose information from your sessions in their defense of your charges.
Danger to self or others:
All states allow a therapist to reveal the name of a client who is deemed a real and present danger to self (e.g., suicide) or others.