Huntsville Professional Counseling’s code of ethics takes your privacy and personal information with the strictest confidence. Laws are also in place to protect your privacy, for example the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA), is a federal law that sets national standards for the protection of individuals medical records and personal health information, including information about mental health services.
In specific situations information can be shared without your permission. Common exceptions to confidentiality are:
- To protect you or the public from serious harm. For example, if you threaten to attempt suicide or seriously harm another person, the psychologist may alert people who can reasonably prevent the threat, including, for example, law enforcement or the other person.
- To report abuse or neglect of children, the elderly or people with disabilities. Psychologists are typically required under state law to report this type of abuse or neglect. The specific circumstances that trigger the duty to report vary from state to state. Some states, for example, require psychologists to report abuse that an adult patient suffered as a child, while other states do not. If you are an adult who suffered abuse as a child, you should ask your psychologist about reporting requirements so that you can talk about your experience without triggering the mandatory reporting.
- To respond to an order from a court. This might happen if you’re involved in a legal proceeding and your mental health comes into play.