As your therapist I strive to develop a trusting relationship with you, my client. Just as in my face-to-face counseling practice, I can assure you that I will keep your information as private as possible. There are limitations, however, especially with working online. Hacks do occur on the internet. I have taken all reasonable precautions to ensure that my website is safe and secure. This website’s chat and email are encrypted, which means that when you and I are in a one-on-one counseling session, no one else can enter that part of the website.
I utilize both encrypted chat and email, with any information stored on a secure server. The email secure server I employ is HIPAA compliant, which ensures that your information is as safe and secure as possible.
I can have group sessions in the chat room; however this again will be limited to the people attending that particular group. Groups in themselves are an inherent confidentiality risk. The individual group members should maintain confidentiality, but be aware that, even though group rules say that ‘what is said in the group stays in the group,’ sometimes group members may break that confidence.
You have the options of saving our session yourself by printing or cutting and pasting, I will save the session in an encrypted setting so I can review it for your next session.
You are responsible for the security of your own electronic and printed material. If others have access to your computer, it may be possible for them to have access to the sessions if you have them saved. Counseling and Trauma Services strongly recommends that if you choose to save our sessions that they be password protected or in other ways be limited to others’ scrutiny. If you are using a computer at work or on another public domain, please be aware that the chance is much greater that your information may be available to others.
As a practicing mental health therapist it is normal to discuss selected cases with another therapist for quality assurance. All therapists are held to the strictest accountability of confidentiality, and the client’s confidentiality will be maintained. This is in accordance with the policies set by the HIPAA laws, the American Counseling Association and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which is where Counseling and Trauma Services is a private practice.
When you come to your first counseling session, you will asked to read a statement on Informed Consent and agree with its contents. This is required by federal law. (HIPAA Regulations and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania). It will explain how Counseling and Trauma Services will never release any information regarding your therapy sessions without explicit permission from you. There are two exceptions to this. If you are a danger to yourself or someone else, Counseling and Trauma Services is obligated by law to break confidentiality. This is to protect the safety of you or others. The second exception is if Counseling and Trauma Services discovered information where children are being hurt or in danger, that information must be reported as the therapist is a mandated reporter for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.