In general, the privacy of all communications (oral or written) between a patient and a psychologist is protected by law, and I can only release information about our work to others with your permission. However, there are a few exceptions under California law in which I may be obliged to reveal some information about your treatment:
- If I have a reasonable suspicion of child abuse, elder abuse or adult dependent abuse, I am required by law to make a report to the appropriate authorities.
- If a patient or an immediate family member of the patient communicate to me that the patient has made a serious threat of physical violence against reasonably identifiable victims or their property, I am required to take protective actions. These actions may include notifying the potential victim, contacting the police, or seeking hospitalization for the patient.
- In most legal proceedings, you have the right to prevent me from providing any information about your treatment; however, in some proceedings, such as child custody or those in which your emotional condition is an important issue, a judge may order my testimony.
- If the patient threatens to harm himself/herself or is gravely disabled, I may be obligated to seek hospitalization or to contact family members or others who can help provide protection.
For further information about your privacy, please read the Privacy Practices document.