Clients often ask ‘Do psychologists share the content of counselling sessions?‘? This is a highly reasonable question.? There are two aspects of confidentiality – maintenance of records and the integrity of the psychologist in hearing your story.
The content of a counselling session remains within strict confidential boundaries and psychologists are trained to respect this confidentiality in many ways.? Firstly, they do not discuss a client’s personal content with others where the identity of the individual can in any way be determined.? A psychologist may ask another psychologist (equally bound by the rule of confidentiality) to assist them in providing the best intervention.? In this case, the name, location, any information pertaining to their place of work or social connections or even gender? are changed to focus on the intervention of the psychologist rather than the specific identity of the client.? Care is taken by professional psychologists to ensure to that a client’s personal details (name, address, phone number, etc) are kept separately from any notes that are written about the client.? Many psychologists use a numbering system for their notes to avoid any names being used in notekeeping.? During the course of a psychologist’s registration process, training is given in keeping client records confidential.? Fireproof files are kept locked to avoid damage and also to maximise security even further in the event of burglary on a psychologist’s professional premises.
The effectiveness of psychological counselling always depends on the trust? between the psychologist and client.? It it essential that you feel comfortable sharing your story with the psychologist.? Whilst they are trained to assist you, ask yourself ‘Do I feel comfortable talking to this person?? Do I feel listened to? Do I feel supported and feel the psychologist is genuinely committed to helping me?’? The personal content of your story or feelings associated with it should always remain between you and the psychologist.
There is an important point to remember.? Psychologists are bound legally to report criminal activities that are reported to them by their clients.? This pertains to things like violence to others, abuse of minors or terrorist activity.? This is a reasonable limitation imposed by psychologists.? In the vast majority of cases, if a client shared such information with me, the most helpful thing to the client in moving their life forward, would be to invite the client to report this themselves – before I was bound by law to do so.