What about confidentiality?
Counseling is confidential for all persons. No information regarding your visit(s) will be divulged to any person, agency, parent, faculty, or prospective employees without your written permission specifying what may be disclosed; nor will any record of your visit(s) exist within your official academic transcripts or medical records.
All of this being said, there are exceptions to confidentiality:
- When there is reasonable suspicion of abuse of a child or elderly person.
- When ordered to release records to a court of law having proper jurisdiction.
- When there is imminent risk of harm to self or others.
Counseling often involves the disclosure of sensitive and personal information. Professional ethical codes and state laws consider the personal information discussed between a counselor and client (18 years and older) to be strictly confidential. This means that the information that you share in counseling, including the fact that you have used our services, will not be disclosed to anyone without your written permission. Also, counseling records are not kept as part of your academic or administrative records.
There are a few exceptions to confidentiality that you should know about before you begin counseling at The W Counseling Center:
- Abuse/Neglect of a Child – Counselors who know or reasonably suspect that a child under the age of 18 is being abused or neglected are legally obligated to report this information to appropriate state agencies.
- Harm to Self – If there is evidence that a student poses clear and imminent danger of harming themselves and they are unwilling or unable to follow treatment recommendations, a counselor may seek their involuntary admission to a hospital and notify a family member who may be able to help them.
- Harm to Others– If a counselor has reason to believe that a student is threatening physical violence against another, they may be required to take action to insure that the other person is protected. Such action may include contacting the police, notifying the intended victim, and seeking involuntary hospitalization of the student.
- Court Subpoena – A court ordered subpoena can require our staff to release information contained in records or to testify in a court hearing.
- Staff Consultation and Supervision of Trainees– Counseling Services operates as a team to provide the best possible service to students. At times, your counselor may consult with other professional staff or receive supervision from a clinical supervisor. These consultations are for professional and/or training purposes only.
If any of the above occur, we will discuss with you any action that is being considered. Students should be aware that Counseling Services staff are not legally obligated to inform you or seek your permission to take such actions, especially if such a discussion would prevent us from securing your safety or the safety of others. If disclosure of confidential information does become necessary, we will release only the information necessary to protect you and/or another person.
Information about the use of e-mail
The use of e-mail is not a secure or confidential medium; we cannot guarantee that the e-mails you send to us will remain confidential. While we consider your communications private and we do not release information about you without your permission, our university administration reserves the right to monitor university e-mail usage.