Psychological Services Center

Confidentiality

As clinical psychologists and psychologists-in-training, we respect your right to privacy and confidentiality. This includes your right to choose what you wish to discuss in therapy as well as your right to have this information protected from others.

We have both an ethical responsibility and a legal duty to protect the information you disclose in therapy. Your records are kept in locked files. They are not released to anyone without your written permission, unless it is required by law. At the end of 10 years, your records are shredded. You should be aware, however, that if you discuss the same matters with other people, besides your therapist, you may not have the same protections as you do with your therapist at the PSC.

To insure that you know the limits of confidentiality, here is a list of some of the exceptions found in the laws of Illinois. Most of the exceptions may not apply to you.

  • All reasonable suspicions of current child abuse or neglect must be reported to the Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) immediately. Psychologists can lose their licenses if this is not done.
  • If a client threatens to do harm to himself, herself, or others, the psychologist has a duty to try to prevent this harm. This may include contacting the person who may be in danger, a family member, the police, or a hospital.
  • To insure the quality of service given, a therapist may consult with a supervisor, attorney, or fellow staff members at the PSC. These professionals are under the same legal requirements as your therapist to protect your privacy and confidentiality.
  • If you are involved in a court case and the court believes your therapy record is relevant to the case, the judge can order disclosure or inspection of your record. If you are involved in a court case and you (or your attorney) raises your mental state as a reason for illegal behavior, the court can order disclosure or inspection of your record. If you are involved in a homicide, the court may be able to access your record. If you sue your therapist or are a witness against your therapist for reasons related to your therapy, your therapist is allowed to introduce your records, but only in so far as they are relevant to defending against your charges. The same is true if your therapist has to use legal measures to collect unpaid fees.
  • If you come to therapy or for testing under a court order the court has a right to any information you disclose that is relevant to the court order.
  • If you are under age 12 (and in some cases under age 18), if you are mentally incompetent, or if you die, your parent, guardian, or estate may have a right to your files.
  • If a portion of your therapy is paid for by your insurance or by a governmental agency (such as DCFS), this agency may have a right to inspect your record. (Please ask for more information if you have questions about this.)
  • Records that have been masked so that client identity can not be determined must be made available to agencies charged with monitoring educational and mental health facilities so that adequate standards of care can be maintained.
  • Anytime you sign a consent form for release of information, the information will be released, according to your instructions.

In addition, you have the right to read your file and to make any additions or corrections you feel are important. We are required to make these additions a permanent part of your record. You have a right to request a copy of your file; the file itself, however, is the property of the PSC. If you wish to read or get a copy of your file, please fill out a form procured from the PSC secretary. You will be charged a standard page rate for the cost of copies.