The confidentiality of client information and records received or documented during the course of psychotherapeutic treatment is protected by both the legal and ethical standards pertaining to Marriage and Family Therapy. In general confidentiality is mandated and all conversations and documents pertaining to a client’s’ history will remain strictly confidential and privacy will be protected by the therapist. Information will not be released to any other individual or organization without the prior written authorization of the client. However, there are permitted exceptions described below.
There are legal and ethical regulations that have created certain exceptions which allow for disclosure of information. These include the following situations, but are not limited to the following:
- Suspected child abuse or neglect. If information is obtained during the course of treatment that a minor is or may be the victim of abuse or neglect, this information will be released immediately to appropriate authorities.
- Suspected elder abuse or neglect. If information related to abuse/neglect of an elder person or over is obtained during the course of treatment, this information will be immediately release to appropriate authorities.
- Suspected intention to do serious harm to another person. If intent to harm another person is revealed by the client during the course of treatment, information will be shared as necessary to prevent this harm.
- Suicidal intent. The therapist may disclose information to others regarding the client’s mental status if suicide or self-harm is determined to be a risk.
- Court Order. Disclosures may be compelled by a judge, arbitrator or others in the legal system.