Confidentiality is one of the most important components between a client and psychotherapist. Successful therapy requires a high degree of trust with highly sensitive subject matter that is usually not discussed anywhere but the therapist's office. Every therapist should provide a written copy of their confidential disclosure agreement, and you can expect that what you discuss in session will not be shared with anyone. This is called “Informed Consent”. Sometimes, however, you may want your therapist to share information or give an update to someone on your healthcare team (you’re your Physician, Naturopath, Attorney), but by law your therapist cannot release this information without obtaining your written permission.
HIPAA, Louisiana State law and the Code of Ethics for psychologists require us to maintain confidentiality except for the following specific situations :
Child Abuse – If I have cause to believe that a child's physical or mental health or welfare is endangered as a result of abuse or neglect or that abuse or neglect was a contributing factor in a child's death, I must report this belief to Louisiana Department of Social Services.
Adult and Domestic Abuse – If I have cause to believe that certain adult's physical or mental health or welfare has been or may be further adversely affected by abuse, neglect, or exploitation, I must report this belief to the appropriate authorities as required by law. Please note that the term "adult", for the purposes of this section, means any person sixty years of age or older, any disabled person eighteen years of age or older, or an emancipated minor.
Health Oversight Activities – The Louisiana Board of Psychological Examiners may subpoena records from me relevant to its disciplinary proceedings and investigations.
Judicial and Administrative Proceedings – If you are involved in a court proceeding and a request is made for information about your diagnosis and treatment and the records thereof, such information is privileged under state law, and I will not release information without your written authorization, or a court order. In the event of your death, your legally-appointed representative will be given access if a suit is brought on behalf of the estate. The privilege does not apply when you are being evaluated for a third party or where the evaluation is court ordered. I will inform you in advance if this is the case.
Serious Threat to Health or Safety – If you communicate to me a threat of physical violence, which I deem to be significant, against a clearly identified victim or victims, coupled with the apparent intent and ability to carry out such threat, I must take reasonable precautions to provide protection for that person(s) from the violent behavior. These precautions include communicating the threat to the potential victim(s) and notifying law enforcement. If you seriously threaten to or act in a way that is very likely to harm yourself, I may have to seek hospitalization for you, or to call on your family members or others who can help protect you. If such a situation does come up, I will fully discuss the situation with you before I do anything, unless there is a very strong reason not to. In an emergency where your life or health is in danger, and I cannot get your consent, I may give another professional some information to protect your life. I will try to get your permission first, and I will discuss this with you as soon as possible afterwards.
Worker's Compensation – If you file a worker's compensation claim and I have treated you relevant to that claim, I must disclose any requested medical information and records relative to your injury to your employer, to a licensed and approved vocational rehabilitation counselor assigned to your claim, another health care provider examining you, or the worker's compensation insurer.
In the Event of a Disaster. We may disclose clinical information about you to other health care providers and to an entity assisting in a disaster relief effort to coordinate care and so that your family can be notified about your condition and location. If you do not want us to make these disclosures, you must notify Dr. Speier in writing.
Incidental disclosures. Certain incidental disclosures of your clinical information may occur as a byproduct of lawful and permitted use and disclosure of your clinical information. For example, another client, family member, or visitor may inadvertently overhear part of a telephone conversation with you or a professional consultation about your care. These incidental disclosures are permitted if we apply reasonable safeguards to protect your clinical information.