The Right to Privacy
The information a client provides in counseling sessions is kept completely private. There are many laws (and professional ethics) that uphold the client's right to confidentiality of information. For this reason, the counselor will not disclose information to anyone regarding your attendance, appointments, or personal information without your written consent, unless required by law. There are a few limitations to confidentiality. These include:
- Staff consultations: it is possible that the counselor will consult with other student support staff in order to provide the best possible service to clients. These consultations are for professional use only and often the student's identity is not disclosed.
- Children/elderly/persons with disabilities abuse: counselors are mandated reporters of the state. If a counselor has reason to believe an elderly person or individual with disabilities is at risk of harm or a person under the age of 18 is being abused or neglected, the counselor is legally required to report this to state agencies.
- Harm to self or others: if the counselor believes that you present an imminent danger to yourself or someone else, the counselor is legally obligated to take action to report this information. This may include crisis screening personnel, family members who can keep you safe, or law enforcement.
- Minors: if you are under the age of 18, circumstances may arise when your parents will need to be informed regarding your care.
- Mandatory attendance: if you are referred to counseling for disciplinary actions or are required to attend per your instructor for a class, your attendance will be reported to the referring party. Personal information shared in session will not be disclosed and will remain private between you and the counselor.
- Legal Requirements: A counselor must disclose information when required to do so in the court of law.
The Right to be Respected
You have the right to be treated with dignity and respect throughout counseling services. Counselors provide a safe, non-judgmental environment for the client.
The Right to Initiate and Terminate Counseling Sessions at Will
You have the right to initiate counseling services, schedule appointments, and terminate sessions at any time you choose. Because counseling is considered brief and solution-focused, exceptions may include if the counselor assesses that a client may need more long term therapy services, in which case a referral can be made to an outside agency.
The Right to Participate in Treatment
The counselor may provide various suggestions on treatment strategies as deemed appropriate including active implementation of skills, "homework" assignments, or referrals to outside agencies. You have the right to refuse to participate in your treatment at any time and are not required to follow the counselors suggestions. Exceptions include if you present an imminent threat to self or others in which case a screen and hospitalization may be required.
Clients have the responsibility to attend scheduled appointments. If you are unable to keep an appointment, please contact the counselor directly or the administrative assistant at the Office of Student Affairs, located in the Learning Resource Center. To cancel, please provide as much advance notice as possible. Keep in mind that someone else can benefit from your appointment time if you are unable to keep it.