Confidentiality is one of the most important elements of psychotherapy and one of your most important rights. Within certain legally defined limitations, any information you reveal, or learned about you from another source, during the course of our work together, will be kept strictly confidential and will not be revealed to any other person or agency without your written permission. However, since this policy does have some exceptions, you should read the following information carefully.
There are certain situations in which we may be required by law to reveal information obtained during psychotherapy to other persons or agencies without your permission. The first situation is if, in our professional judgment, you threaten grave bodily harm to another person or to yourself. The second is if, in our professional judgment, it becomes apparent that a dependent, such as a child, an elderly person, or someone with a disability, is being abused. The third situation is if a court of law issues a legitimate court order requiring production of specific information. Such court ordered breaches of confidentiality are rare occurrences because, as licensed mental health professionals, we are protected by a Massachusetts statute which allows you to prevent us from disclosing what transpires in our sessions together.
As you know, your health insurance company may help to cover the cost of our services. In order for claims to be processed, the companies require that we provide them with certain information, including a clinical diagnosis, and in some cases, a treatment report. This information will become part of your record in the insurance company's files, and in all probability will be computerized. All insurance companies claim to keep such information confidential; and they are forbidden by law from releasing any of that information to anyone without your specific, informed consent. However, once information is in the hands of an insurance company, we have no control over what they do with it or who may see it. If you are concerned about this, you may want to check with your insurance company before authorizing us to bill them. You have the option of paying us directly, if you wish, rather than using your insurance company and creating a record outside this office.
If you are under sixteen, you should know that your parents, in most cases, can examine your records without your permission. However, we can refuse to allow such examination without a court order.
You are encouraged to fully discuss with your therapist any concerns or questions you may have about our confidentiality policy.