Your Privacy is Protected
. The law protects confidentiality between a client and a psychotherapist, so generally, information can't be disclosed without written permission. However, California law makes a very few exceptions. In the following cases only, I am required to break your privacy:
Suspected child abuse or dependant adult or elder abuse, for which I am required by law to make a report to the appropriate authorities immediately.
If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person/s, I must notify the police and inform the intended victim, also immediately.
If a client intends to harm himself or herself, I will make every effort to enlist their cooperation in ensuring their safety. If they do not cooperate, I will take further measures without their permission that are provided to me by law in order to ensure his or her safety.
I am also permitted, in my discretion, to share information needed by your doctor(s) and medical plan, to ensure your health. Normally, we will arrange a written release of information. (See my page "Helpful Forms".)
My Ethical Responsibilities
Marriage and family therapists (MFTs) like me, along with clinical social workers (LCSWs), psychologists (PhDs), doctors - including psychiatists (MDs), Family Nurse Practitioners (FNPs) and nurses (RNs) - must all adhere to strong ethical codes and state laws that protect you clients. I am a member of the CA Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT), which maintains my professional ethical code - standards enforced by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (see www.BBS.ca.gov). Grievances can and are made to that Board, and every year a few therapists are retrained, disciplined, fined, or even subjected to license suspension or revocation. My MFT ethical code, as well as California state law, provides that, among other things, therapists cannot ever have sex with clients, cannot abandon clients, and must keep your "PHI" ("personal health information") confidential (with the exceptions). To see my code, write "ethics" in the search bar at www.CAMFT.org. See also the local chapter's website, www.SantaCruzTherapist.org.