As a licensed clinical psychologist practicing in the state of Pennsylvania, there are strict confidentiality requirements imposed upon me. That is, except under very limited circumstances, I am prohibited from revealing any identifying information about my clients. This would also include people who have contacted me but we have not yet formed an official working relationship. There are two exceptions, although they come up very rarely:
- If it is my judgment that a client is in imminent danger to him- or herself (e.g., threats of suicide).
- If it is my judgment that a client is in imminent danger to someone else (e.g., threats to physically harm someone).
If I am contacted by someone requesting information about a past or current client, I cannot even confirm that I know that person without written consent.
Collaboration is a Good Thing
Confidentiality is important, but there are times when it is helpful for me to speak with someone else, such as a prescribing physician, teacher, guidance counselor, or other clinician. Sometimes it’s helpful for me to get information from others so that I don’t need to re-invent the wheel and we can make progress more quickly. Other times it is helpful to you for me to share information with others so they can be more helpful to you.
I will never speak with anyone else about your situation, unless we speak about it first. This is completely your choice.