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Counseling Center

 

 

Confidentiality and Privacy

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Federal and state laws along with professional ethical standards prohibit the disclosure of any information you provide us unless we have your proper written consent. Thus, if a St. Ambrose University official or your parents or anyone else should inquire about your receiving services here, we would not be able to disclose any information about you without your written permission. Having said that, there are a few exceptions to the confidentiality laws and standards, as follows:

  • If your counselor believes that you or someone else is in clear and imminent danger of harm, your counselor is legally obligated to inform proper authorities and others in order to prevent the harm from occurring. This information would be disclosed only to appropriate professional workers, necessary university and public authorities, a potential victim of aggression or the client's family.
  • If you provide information indicating that someone under 18 years old is being abused, your counselor is legally required to notify proper authorities.
  • In rare cases, a court may order your counselor to disclose information about you.
  • If you are under 17 ½ years old, your parents or legal guardian may have access to your treatment records.
  • When the client requires hospitalization for severe psychological problems, suicidal ideations or attempt, or other life threatening issue. In these instances, the counselor must notify the client's parents or spouse, the Dean of Students, and, if the client lives in a residence hall, appropriate members of the residence life staff. Only relevant, limited and necessary information will be shared with these individuals, who are always notified whenever a serious medical emergency arises with a student.

In the preceding situations, the counselor will, whenever possible first discuss the disclosure of information with the client. The counselor will provide reasons why the disclosure is appropriate and necessary and will attempt to secure the client's permission to release information. The client and counselor may jointly be involved in sharing the information.  However, should the client fail to give permission, the counselor will proceed to release the information without the client's consent. In some emergency situations, there may not be an opportunity to discuss disclosure of information with the client prior to the actual disclosure.

It is possible that at some point in the future you will be required by an outside agency or employer to sign a release allowing that agency or employer to review your treatment records. This may occur, for example if you apply for health and life insurance, or if you apply for licensure or certification in some professions, or if you apply for employment in agencies that require a security clearance. In any of these situations, the counselor will first make an attempt to contact you regarding what information you may want disclosed to the requesting party.