Thursday, January 15, 2009

How private is my therapy? Do you take notes and who else would have access to them?

Your therapy is private in that your therapist is mandated to keep all that goes on (including notes) confidential with a few exceptions:

  • If you are using insurance to pay for your therapy your insurance company is always privy to your diagnosis, dates of treatment and information regarding whether you are being treated individually, as a couple, or in a group. This information must be on every invoice your therapist sends to the insurance company or reimbursement will be denied. Your insurance company can request access to your records in other situations as well, for example, if your therapist is being audited by the insurance company your records may be scrutinized to see if the therapist is in compliance with insurance guidelines.
  • If your mental health is being called into question in conjunction with a lawsuit you are involved in your records and/or your therapist's testimony may be subpoenaed. Your therapist should notify you if your records are requested.
  • If you are a danger to yourself or to other people your therapist is mandated to notify the proper authorities so that you or anyone in danger from you can be kept safe from harm.
  • Your therapist is mandated by law to report situations where children or elders are being abused. Your therapist would most often inform you before a report was made and talk to you about the process and possible repercussions.
  • Your therapist may be invoved in ongoing consultation with other therapists about the diagnosis and treatment of clients. Identifying information about the client is always kept confidential and the focus of discussion is on how the therapist can continue to provide her clients the best treatment.

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