Privacy and Confidentiality

Therapy is a personal journey that often involves discussing sensitive topics. Your privacy is important, and if you choose me as your therapist, I will always prioritize protecting your confidentiality. As a licensed psychologist, I strictly follow HIPAA privacy guidelines and APA ethical codes to ensure your information remains secure and private.

The law protects the confidentiality of information exchanged between a client and their psychologist. In most cases, information cannot be disclosed without your express written consent.

However, there are specific scenarios in which confidentiality must be breached by law:

  • Duty to Protect
    If a client presents an imminent risk of harming themself, their psychologist will collaborate with them to ensure their safety. If that is not possible for any reason, the psychologist is required by law to take further measures to ensure the client’s safety, and those steps may include breaching confidentiality. Please note that simply expressing suicidal thoughts does not automatically justify breaking confidentiality.
  • Duty to Warn
    If a client presents a plan to harm another person, their psychologist is required by law to warn the possible victim and notify authorities.
  • Abuse of Children and Vulnerable Adults
    If abuse or neglect of children or vulnerable adults (e.g., elderly, disabled, etc.) is disclosed or suspected, the psychologist is required by law report this information to an appropriate state agency and/or legal authorities. 

Such disclosures do not require your permission, as they are legally mandated. There are other circumstances in which your information may be shared with third parties, but only with your authorization:

  • For payment purposes
    We may use and disclose your information in order to receive payment for the treatment provided to you. Such payment-related activities include: coverage or eligibility determination for use of insurance benefits, claims processing with your insurance company, review of services provided to you for the purposes of determining medical necessity, or engaging in utilization review activities. Should it become necessary to use collection agencies or processes due to lack of payment for services, only the minimum amount of information necessary for purposes of collection will be disclosed.
  • For healthcare operations
    We may use or disclose your information as needed, in order to support our business activities. This includes, but is not limited to: licensing, quality assessment, and conducting or arranging other business activities. For example, we may share your information with third parties that perform various business activities (e.g., billing, typing services) if we have a written contract with that business stipulating that they will safeguard the privacy of your information. Your information will also be used to remind you of your appointments. 
  • Additional disclosures
    Disclosure of your information to any additional parties will only be done with your written authorization.

Notes on the use of technology
Email, which is quick and convenient, has become a go-to means of communication in modern society. I use email often, but it is important to remember that it is not a secure way to share confidential information because they can be intercepted or sent to the wrong recipient. An exception to this is the email system within my client portal. It is HIPAA-compliant and secure and can be used to share information that you want protected. If you choose to communicate using any other email system, you are acknowledging and accepting the potential risks that come with using this method of communication.

I go to great lengths to ensure that your information is protected. This includes in my selection of technology. Any communication service that I use is HIPAA compliant and subject to a formal agreement with the company providing the technology that they will protect your information. This includes, but is not limited to: my client portal, all of the various video meeting software that I use, my telephone service (for calling and texting), and the communication widget on this website. Communication is encrypted end-to-end and data is stored in secure ways that prevent access by outside persons or organizations.

If you have any questions or concerns about your privacy and confidentiality, please feel free to contact me.