In virtually ALL cases, information concerning psychological treatment and assessments is considered confidential, even involving children/adolescents under the age of 18, and requires written permission of the parent/legal guardian before any clinical, health or linked Personally Identifiable Information (PII) can be revealed to third parties, including insurance companies, schools or other health professionals. But that doesn’t mean that the therapist must disclose to the parent everything the child says during a therapy session just because the parent is the legal guardian of the child and can demand disclosure to themselves as parents.
Most parents understand the need for trust and confidentiality in any therapeutic situation, especially with kids, and respect a child’s right to confidentiality and privacy, but some parents do not. In those cases, we are unable to offer services to the child and family involved and will recommend the family seek services elsewhere.
As in every case, irrespective of age, however, suspicions of sexual or physical abuse, suicidal or homicidal or other dangerous intent or behaviors; or the receipt of an appropriate and valid Court Order are traditionally not covered by laws and customs mandating confidentiality and the law requires reporting such events to the appropriate agencies irrespective of client/patient permission. This applies to children, adolescents and adults without exception, unless otherwise provided by law. The bounds and limits of confidentiality and clinical practice are discussed during the first visit.