Icenogle & Associates, LLC
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Confidentiality regarding minors in therapy is complex

| May 7, 2021 | Patient Confidentiality |

If you are a psychologist and have minor patients, you will know the basics of their confidentiality rights and the fact that legally speaking, minors do not have the right to confidentiality when in therapy. However, you as a psychologist should always use discretion before divulging information that you were given in a therapy session.

If you have been asked to speak about conversations that were held in a therapy session with a minor, it is important that you understand the law and consider the importance of confidentiality. The following are some things to consider in regard to minors and confidentiality.

Parents usually have the right to certain information

Usually, parents have the right to information about their child’s treatment. However, this may not be the case in certain situations, for example, if the parent has lost or given up their parental rights, when a court order prohibits them from gaining the information, or when the parent has signed an agreement to respect the child’s confidentiality.

The court may appoint a lawyer on behalf of the child

If there is a reason to believe that a parent is exploiting the lack of confidentiality in a way that is not in the best interests of the child, the court may appoint a lawyer to argue for the child’s interests. This may prevent you from being able to disclose certain information to the parents of your patient.

Your responsibility is to ensure that your patient gets effective care

While you may not have the legal obligation to keep the confidence of your patient, you do have the responsibility to do what you can to provide effective care. That means that keeping the confidence of your patient will sometimes be the best way to build trust and rapport.

If you are a psychologist and you are currently facing challenges regarding the confidentiality of your minor patients, it is important that you take action so that you can understand how the law applies to you.