The clinical services I provide as a licensed psychologist are confidential and protected by state and federal laws and regulations and by professional codes of ethics. As a rule, I can only share information about a client with others, including family members, health care providers, and employers, with the client’s express consent and cooperation. Even so, there are some exceptions to confidentiality.
- If a client opts to use health insurance to help pay for services, the insurance company will require me to report the client’s clinical diagnoses and the dates and times of treatment, and sometimes may require additional information such as treatment plans or summaries.
- If a client threatens to seriously harm her or himself or die by suicide, and we are not able to resolve the situation in treatment, I may seek to hospitalize the client or I may contact family members, police, or others who can help keep the client safe.
- Similarly, if I believe a client poses a serious risk to someone else, and we’re not able to resolve the situation in treatment, I will take protective actions, which may include notifying the potential victim, contacting the police, or seeking hospitalization for the client.
- If a client tells me of a child, an elderly person, or a disabled person being abused or mistreated, California state law requires me to file a report with the appropriate state agency that can investigate the situation.
- I am also obligated under the law to report to the appropriate authorities if a client reports having accessed, streamed, or downloaded child pornography.
- In most legal proceedings, a client has the right to prevent me from providing any information about the client’s treatment. In some proceedings involving child custody and those in which a client’s emotional condition is an important issue, however, a judge may order my testimony if she or he determines that the issues demand it, and I will comply with such a court order.