What is confidentiality?
Due to the sensitive and personal nature of counseling, questions regarding confidentiality are understandable. You should feel free to direct any questions about confidentiality to your therapist or any CPS staff at anytime.
All therapeutic services at CPS are strictly confidential. This means that nothing you share with your therapist is revealed to anyone outside of CPS without your permission. More specifically, we do not disclose your name or identifying information to anyone outside of CPS including other students, your family, professors and deans.
In order to provide you with the highest quality of care, your therapist may consult with other counseling center staff. Other than these internal consultations, it is completely your decision whether to tell anyone that you are in counseling. If, for example, you would like us to speak with someone (e.g. your parents or an outside doctor) about some aspect of your mental health care, we can do that but only with your permission.
Are there limits to confidentiality?
Yes. There are situations in which we are required by law and/or professional ethics to release information. These include:
- Our assessment that you may be a danger to yourself or others.
- Our assessment that a child or elder is being abused, neglected or exploited.
- If we are required to present records or information as a part of a legal proceeding.
Are my counseling records made a part of my permanent file?
No. No information about your contact with the CPS is kept in your permanent academic or financial record held by the University.
Can counselors share information about me to others?
Therapists are unable to release any information about you without your permission. If you want your counselor to talk with someone else (e.g. faculty, family, doctors), you may sign an authorization form. This legal document enables your counselor to discuss any matter of your choosing with a specified person.
On rare occasions, a Student Affairs dean will mandate a student to have a psychological evaluation at CPS; this is typically done to ensure student health and safety. If this student does not show for a mandated evaluation, CPS staff may inform the referring source. At the appointment, the student will be asked to provide written consent to relay pertinent information back to the referring administrator (or designee). This information often includes, but is not limited to, whether the student attended the session(s), the treatment plan and factors that may put students’ health at-risk.
While CPS staff conducts mandated psychological evaluations of students of concern, we do not do mandated counseling. All counseling sessions at CPS are voluntary, confidential and private.
There are some institutions that ask whether you have been in counseling on their application forms (e.g. the Peace Corps, the C.I.A., and state bar associations). If you tell these organizations that you have been in counseling, they are likely to ask your permission to seek information from your counselor; be assured that no outside agency will know about your contact with CPS unless you give them and us your explicit permission.
If I am a student using counseling, how does confidentiality work?
In addition to the policies about confidentiality above, students requesting counseling services will be asked to read and sign our Statement of Confidentiality at their first appointment. This document describes CPS policies & procedures including confidentiality. Your counselor will also review this with you in your first meeting.
Effective therapy requires an atmosphere of trust. Questions about confidentiality, or any aspect of therapy, can be raised with your therapist or any CPS staff member at anytime.