What is confidentiality?
As defined by the American Psychological Association in their Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, confidentiality refers to, "protect[ing] confidential information obtained through or stored in any medium, recognizing that the extent and limits of confidentiality may be regulated by law or established by institutional rules or professional or scientific relationship" (2017).
In other words, confidentiality is a client's right to to have their personal information protected and kept private by their psychologist and that psychologist's clinic, aside from specific extraordinary circumstances (which are listed in the section below).
How does confidentiality work?
Confidentiality is one of the most important components between a client and assessment or treatment provider. Both assessment and treatment require a high degree of trust with highly sensitive subject matter. Your assessment/treatment provider will provide a digital copy of the confidential disclosure agreement as well as the terms of service, so that you will be fully informed, which is referred to as “Informed Consent”.
Sometimes, you may want your assessment/treatment provider to share information or give an update to someone on your healthcare team, such as your physician, naturopath or other treatment provider, in which case we will need to obtain your written permission to release this information.
The following are situations in which assessment/treatment providers do not need to maintain confidentiality:
If a client is at risk of hurting themselves or others.
If the therapist is mandated by a court to disclose information.
If there is disclosure that a child has been, or is at risk of being abused or neglected, or has witnessed violence in the home.
If there is disclosure that there has been sexual abuse by a regulated health professional.
If there is a report of abuse or neglect of residents living in Long Term Care Facilities or Retirement Homes.
If the person is missing and the police require access to their file.
If there is a random audit of your records by the College of Psychologists of Ontario.