Confidentiality is of utmost importance. You cannot feel free to talk about your most intimate thoughts, feelings and actions unless you know that your privacy will be completely respected. Other than in a very few specific instances which will be delineated below, no information about you, your family, situation or case will passed to any others without your express permission. This includes your doctor, lawyer or insurer. A consent from you to release information is required prior to any information sharing. Furthermore, you cannot provide consent for someone else’s information to be released unless that individual is your minor child. this also means that if someone refers you to me, they will get no feedback regarding if you followed up on the call or how you are doing in counselling.
As indicated, there are some limitations to confidentiality.
- Confidentiality cannot be maintained if there is any indication of on-going child abuse. Concerns of physical, emotional or sexual child abuse will be reported immediately. This is the law and applies to all mental health professionals. We do not investigate nor verify the abuse before reporting. Reports are made to the Children’s Aid Society and the police. We will gladly support you through any subsequent investigation.
- Parents of children under the age of 16 may have the right to access their child’s information. I, however, ask parents to respect the child’s right to privacy as much as is possible with the understanding that if I have concerns, the child’s well being comes first and the parent will be informed.
- If I am served with a court ordered subpoena to release a file I must fulfill the order, however, permission to subpoena a file is rare and rarely granted. If you are involved in an on-going dispute and fear that your file may be subpoenaed we can discuss this matter further.
- If I believe that you are imminently suicidal or homicidal I must breach confidentiality in order to protect you and others. Who this information is presented to will depend on the situation. In all cases efforts are made to maintain confidentiality to the maximum extent possible.
- Sexual relationships between mental health professional and their client are forbidden. I am obligated to report social workers who engage in this behaviour with anyone who has ever been their client, to our professional college. My obligation is to name the offending social worker but do not name the client without their consent.
In smaller communities, confidentiality may be even more of a concern because you are likely to see your therapist in other settings and your therapist is likely to know people that you know. Rest assured, your confidentiality is of paramount concern to everyone at Elayne Tanner & Associates and will be maintained.