All information shared in a therapy session will be kept confidential. It is essential that you feel free to share what's on your mind and in your heart when you're with your therapist. Your therapist will not speak to anyone on your behalf without your explicit written permission.
The Women's Center is a teaching facility contracted with Universities such as MSU and U of M for graduate student internships. If your therapist is a graduate student intern, they will consult with their supervisor and other interns/staff in group supervision. The supervisor and other interns/staff are bound by professional ethics and agency policy to keep this information confidential. If you agree, your session may be recorded on audio tape, as a teaching/learning/supervision tool for the interns and supervisor. The tapes are erased regularly and will be heard only by your therapist and their supervisor. Feel free to discuss your opinions and feelings about this with your therapist.
There are four exceptions to confidentiality:
- Your therapist is mandated by law to report any suspicions of child or elder abuse and/or neglect to the appropriate Protective Services of the Michigan Department of Human Services. When possible, they will support you in making the call; however, if you are unable to do so, they will make the report.
- In the event that you are seriously planning to harm a third party, therapists are mandated (under the 'Duty to Warn' and 'Duty to Protect' laws) to contact the intended victim and/or agencies that will help you through the crisis.
- Similarly, in cases of suicidal intent, the therapist may decide in the interests of protecting you from harm against yourself to recommend hospitalization, notify family members, individuals and/or agencies that will help you through the crisis.
- If you experiences a medical emergency while in our office and are unable to communicate, we are obliged to give your name and any pertinent medical information to the emergency medical technicians.
It is important that you discuss with your therapist what procedures they should follow if the two of you saw each other in a public place. In general, the therapist will not acknowledge your presence out of respect for your confidentiality (especially if either of you is with another person). Your privacy is very important to us!