Confidentiality & Its Limits

Is what I tell my counselor kept private?

New Hampshire and federal law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and a licensed therapist. These communications are privileged and confidential and may not be disclosed without specific written authorization. 

Limitations

  • If the counselor believes that a child, an elderly person, or an incapacitated adult is being abused or neglected, the counselor is required to file a report with the appropriate state agency.

  • If the counselor believes that a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another, the counselor is required to take protective actions, which may include notifying the potential victim, the police, or seeking appropriate hospitalization for the client.

  • If a client threatens to harm his/her self, the counselor may be required to seek hospitalization for the client, or contact family members or others who can provide protection for the client.

Email, Faxes, Texting, Etc.

Electronic communications such as email and texting may not be secure, therefore our counselors cannot guarantee confidentiality of any information transmitted in this way. All electronic communications received become a part of your permanent record, and therefore may be subject to disclosure required by state and federal law.

Consultation With Other Professionals

At times your counselor may find it helpful to consult about your case with other professionals. In these situations they will not reveal your identity. The consultant is also legally bound to keep the information confidential. I you object to this collaboration, it is very important for you to express your objection to your counselor about this practice. 

Your Records

The law and our professional standards require that your counselor keep appropriate treatment records including intake, diagnosis, treatment plans, billing consent to treatment, treatment notes, discharge summary, and any other communication your counselor receives from you or about you. You have a right to receive a copy of your records for a small fee that covers copying and administrative costs. Your counselor would be happy to review your records with you, especially since sometimes these records can be misinterpreted or upsetting. Please be aware that we cannot guarantee the confidentiality of any records you receive once they leave our office. Most insurance agreements require your counselor to provide a clinical diagnosis and a treatment plan or summary, and sometimes your entire record. All insurance companies claim to keep this information confidential, but once it is in their hands we have no control over what they do with it. You may request a copy of any report we send. Any concerns about your insurance company's confidentiality policy should be directed to your insurance company. If your concerns about insurance are not resolved, you have the right to pay out of pocket for any services. You may decide to revoke, in writing, your authorization to release your records to your insurance company at any time. This revocation will not apply to previously authorized disclosure of records.