All information discussed in therapy sessions is confidential. Individuals receiving mental health counseling have the right to privacy with regard to their sessions. Your information will be kept confidential using the same methods for those who receive face-to-face counseling. This includes that all records and files are maintained in a locked filing cabinet. Once your emails are read, they are deleted from the computer, and only the hard-copy may be kept in a locked file. In addition, for your privacy, your email and your address will be kept private and will not be distributed or used for any other purpose.
There are some exceptions to the confidentiality rule and these exceptions vary from state to state. Basically, the legal limitations to confidentiality are as follows:
For further information on confidentiality, please refer to the American Counseling Association's Ethical Guidelines
- Mental Health Professionals are required by law to notify the proper authorities if there is suspected child abuse (including emotional, physical or sexual abuse).
- Counselors must notify the proper authorities if clients make credible threats to harm themselves or a third party (this includes contagious, fatal diseases).
- Counselors may be required to breach confidentiality if subpoenaed for court cases or legal proceedings.
With regard to confidentiality and using the internet, every precaution is made to protect your privacy. However, privacy cannot be guaranteed because it is not fail-safe. To better protect yourself, avoid sending email from your computer at work, as your employer has the right to access and view your email. Also, when using your computer at home, make sure that you are the only person who has access to your email account. You may also want to consider using a password to access your computer. In addition, avoid saving the HelpForAnger.com email address in your Address book on your computer. Further, consider deleting emails from your hard drive, and remember to empty your sent, trash, and recycle bin files as well.