Confidentiality in Psychotherapy
Updated: Feb 22
Is counselling confidential?
Yes - and your counsellor should take this seriously.
Confidentiality is imperative in creating a safe and trusting therapeutic relationship.
As a Counsellor in Vancouver, I work with individuals in the counselling space by abiding to the Code of Ethical Conduct and Standards of Clinical Practice by the British Columbia Associations of Clinical Counsellors, as well the National Code of Ethics by the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association.
Make sure that your counsellor also follows their code of ethics provided by their regulatory body. This is something that you might ask a (future) counsellor during your phone consultation.
Exceptions to Confidentiality
There are, however, a few exceptions to confidentiality that are required by law:
If a client discloses information that suggests they may be at risk of harming themselves or another person,.
If a client discloses information and there is reason for the counsellor to believe that a child (age 18 and under) requires protection, such as where a child has been or is likely to be physically, sexually or emotionally harmed, abused or exploited.
If there is reason to believe that a client is operating a motor vehicle in an unsafe fashion, as per the Motor Vehicle Act.
If the counsellor is ordered by court subpoena to release information to a third party, such as a lawyer.
Insurance companies and other third-party payers may be given information that they request regarding services to clients.
Finally, your counsellor could regularly consult with a clinical supervisor, and/or clinical colleagues, to obtain clinical consultations. Identifying information (name, contact information, etc.) are kept confidential, however some details about the presenting concerns and issues may be share for consultative purposes only.
If ever there is a situation where confidentiality needs to be broken, I make sure, whenever possible, to have a conversation with my client before breaching confidentiality. This ensures that we are both aware of current affairs and can make a collaborative plan of action.
Counsellor in Vancouver, BC