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Confidentiality & Privacy

As a general rule I am not allowed to divulge anything you say to me to anyone else without your written permission. If I did then I would be in trouble with you and the professional organisations I am a member of. It would also be a breach of the codes of ethics I am required to obey.

That said there are a few situations in which I would be required to break confidentiality. This page is intended to reflect my understanding at the time it was written and shouldn't be considered a reliable guide to current legislation.

If you have any concerns about privacy or confidentiality please get in touch to discus.

1. TERRORSIM, MONEY LAUNDERING, AND PROCEEDS OF CRIME. Please note that therapists in the UK are NOT exempt from laws set in place regarding terrorism, money laundering, and the proceeds of crime. Any information disclosed to me about these three activities will have to be reported to the police even if the crime has taken place (or will take place) in another country. It is a legal requirement that therapists will not let their clients know that they have done this. Therapists in private practice are not required by law to report any other type of criminal acitivity.*

2. COURT SUMMONS. It is possible for a therapist to be summoned to court and ordered to hand over their notes by a judge. If you are worried that you might be in a situation that could result in this happening please let me know in advance as I might need to seek advice before we proceed. This may be relevant if you are going to be appearing as a witness, you are the accused, or you are the victim of a crime.

3. HARM TO SELF. This is about suicide attempts and dangerous self harm actions, not really about people who do what is generally considered 'self harm' as such. It is perfectly ok for you to discuss any suicidal thoughts and attempts with me. But if you make me believe you are about to actually end your life, or you tell me that you are, I am required to try and stop you by telling someone. If you are worried about this please talk to me about it.

4. HARM TO OTHERS. We all have uncharitable thoughts, but if you lead me to believe or actually tell me you are going to harm another person I will try and stop you by telling the police.

* Information from 'Counselling, Psychotherapy and the Law' 2nd Edition printed in 2007 by Peter Jenkins.

Last Updated: June 2015