If you’re thinking about visiting a therapist for counseling and guidance, you may be concerned about your confidentiality. You probably heard at one time or another that what you say to a therapist is confidential. While that statement is partially true, it is not 100 percent true. Here’s some information about therapist appointments and their clients’ rights. You can base your decision to visit a therapist on the information we provide to you on this subject matter.
The Therapist’s Oath
All medical personnel and people within the mental health field must take an oath when they decide to start a practice that involves helping people. That oath includes the promise to be compassionate, empathetic, and helpful. Therapists also swear to an oath of confidentiality. That means that they cannot discuss what you talk to them about during your sessions without requesting your written permission to do so. Doing so would breach the oath as well as your trust in the provider. The confidentiality factor runs deep. For example, therapists have to stick to the confidentiality code even when they are receiving a medical transcription service.
What Is Confidential?
The majority of the information that therapists collect when you meet with them is confidential. Any tests, activities, and conversations are private matters. As long as you are not discussing dangerous matters, then the therapist is obligated to keep your information to himself or herself. Therefore, you can generally have a secure feeling about your conversations. The practitioner can proceed to help you resolve your feelings, restructure your behaviors, work through your pain or change your lifestyle. There are only a few situations in which the therapist has the right to release your information without your signed consent.
What Is NOT Confidential?
Suicide and homicide are two subjects that therapists and other caregivers have to take seriously 100 percent of the time. Therefore, you will lose your right to privacy if you reveal that you have been thinking about harming yourself or harming another person. The therapist then has the right to contact the authorities or a related party that can take action to prevent those instances from occurring. It’s not uncommon for a therapist to contact a mental health facility or a law enforcement professional if that person believes that a client may be a threat to himself, herself, or someone else. The act of contacting the authorities or a mental health facility is an extension of the therapist’s commitment to protecting his or her clients and other people.
A therapist may also have to release your information to a detective or a prosecuting party if he or she receives a subpoena, or if law enforcement officers are investigating you for a serious crime. The idea of privacy may then become lost in the legal process.
This does not mean that you cannot be upfront and honest with your therapist. It just means that you should be aware of the laws regarding sensitive subject matter in your state. You may conduct research so that you know the legislation in your state, as each state has different rules.
Tips for Finding a Good Therapist
The most important aspect of getting therapy is that you find a provider with whom you can be comfortable. You should always check for a provider’s licensing and certification before you meet up with that person. You should read reviews, commentaries, and testimonials from other people who have used the same therapist. Furthermore, you should schedule a consultation meeting with the therapist to ensure that you and that person can exchange a positive vibe. Trust is the most important element of successful therapy. It can be a difference between healing and staying stuck for many years.
Schedule Your Therapy Appointment
Now you know the level of confidentiality that you will have if you talk to a therapist. You can feel confident scheduling an appointment if you can stay within the safe realm of conversation. You may need to seek a different kind of assistance if you have been having thoughts of harming yourself or others. Otherwise, you can call for a consultation with a therapist today. The consultation will give you and the practitioner some time to get to know each other and decide whether you are the right fit for one another.