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Minisode 11 | August 9, 2022

What Expectations to Have of Privacy and Confidentiality During Therapy

In our eleventh minisode in a series about accessing and normalizing therapy, we discuss confidentiality during therapy - when a therapist may break it - and what stays private.


Welcome to “That’s a Hard No” – the podcast about saying no and setting boundaries so you can become the authentic and empowered you that this world needs.

Reminder: While Sarah is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, this podcast is in no way replacement for one-on-one therapy with a mental health professionalIf you are struggling with mental health issues, we welcome you on this journey, but also invite you to seek out professional help.

Looking for a therapist? Here’s a good place to start:

Confidentiality During Therapy

In season 2 of That’s a Hard No, we’re making it a priority to dig deeper into the process of finding and utilizing the mental health support you may need. We’re taking some time to discuss with our “in-house expert,” Sarah Saunders, what to expect from therapy and all of its intricacies.  

What Stays Confidential?
  • Expectations of Privacy – The vast majority in which you share in therapy are confidential, this means it stays between you and the therapist, however, there are special circumstances in which this may be broken.
    • Reporting Requirements
    • Family/Couples Therapy
    • Children or Minors
  • Reporting Requirements – Therapists are responsible for reporting if someone is in danger.
    • This can look like:
      • You are planning to harm yourself.
      • You are planning to harm someone else.
      • If you are being harmed.
    • Please note that in these circumstances, a therapist should/will ask follow up questions and notify you that they will be reporting to provide additional support for you. You will not be completely blindsided.
  • Family or Couples Therapy – Be sure to clarify with your therapist specifically but oftentimes there is an agreement that all informaton shared will be discussed among the group and everyone should be notified.
    • If this is family therapy, emails to the therapist should CC the group.
    • If this is couples therapy, you may tell the therapist something to ask for support in sharing the information with your partner.
    • No secrets policies are often practiced.
  • Child or Minor – Depending on the age of the child confidentiality and access change.
    • 14 year old’s and up
      • Outpatient care without parental consent
      • No administration of medications without parent
  • Release of Information – The only way another provider would be able to access your files is by signing a release of information.
    • These can breakdown specific details you would want shared for other medical care.
    • Can include how this information is shared, text, call, email, etc.

If a client ever feels as though they can’t be completely truthful, I would encourage them to either have that direct conversation with the therapist or maybe shop around for someone else, because it is important that you’re able to share all of that.

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Credits and Thanks