Situations which may permit or require release of private information are:
1) Ordinarily, information is only released when you authorize it in writing such as to exchange information with another therapist, or health insurance company. Please be aware that if you have third-party reimbursement (health insurance or HMO) and file a claim with authorization for release, that your insurance company may request or require detailed information, and in some cases a copy of your file. If the request is more than routine practice, I will call you for you to decide. Please realize that I do all I professionally can to protect and honor your confidentiality.
2) By Minnesota State Statute, helping professionals are required to immediately report every case of specific physical and/or sexual abuse of children (minors) and "vulnerable adults" (mentally limited, severely ill, legally "incompetent", etc.) to the appropriate legal authority (child protection department, police). In such cases, confidentiality between the patient / client and therapist must be broken.
3) In cases where there is imminent danger to an individual, such as severe risk of harming one's self or danger of harming another, the professional is required to act to protect. In the case where the patient may disagree, it must be the professional's clinical judgment to decide when confidentiality must be broken in the interest of protection of the client or others from harm. If I believe that a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another, I may be required to take protective actions which may include notifying the potential victim, notifying the police, or seeking appropriate hospitalization. If a client threatens to harm him/herself, I may be required to seek hospitalization for the client, or to contact family members or others who can help provide protection.
4) In cases where there is a legal subpoena requiring the release of records, information must be disclosed. This is rare, and a subpoena is not easily obtained. In many judicial proceedings, you have the right to prevent me from providing any information about your treatment, or in some cases, you may have the option to authorize me to offer a summary of your record. When your mental health or welfare may become a point of litigation (e.g., custody evaluation), your right to confidentiality may be waived by requirement and your therapist can be compelled to release the file, give a deposition, or testify in court. Also, if you are seeking an evaluation for legal purposes, please inform me of this specifically at the beginning of our work.