Privacy Matters

We take our clients’ confidentiality very seriously.  Confidentiality is the foundation for the therapeutic relationship–without it, nothing else works.  So we’ve included this page to help you better understand the basics of confidentiality and privacy in a Web 2.0 world.  If you have more questions about confidentiality or social media privacy, we will be happy to answer them by phone or in the office.

Confidentiality

Confidentiality is the legal right of your health care privacy.  In simple terms, it means that what you say  within the context of our therapy is private.  We don’t talk with others about what we hear from you, unless you have given us permission in writing to do so.  We don’t even answer questions about whether or not you are attending therapy unless you have given us written permission to do so.

One common reason people give written permission to share some of their therapeutic information is to take advantage of their health insurance benefits.  Insurance companies will request identifying and diagnostic information as a condition of providing benefits.  If you wish to use insurance coverage, we will ask for permission to release that information.  If you wish to fully protect your health information, you may choose to pay out of pocket.

Because confidentiality is a legal right, there are some situations that change your privacy:

  • Safety is an even higher responsibility than confidentiality.  Because of this:
    • If you are upset enough that you are actively planning to harm yourself, we are legally required to work with you to make a safety plan, and to enlist whatever outside help is needed to be sure that the safety plan is followed.
    • If you are angry enough that you are actively planning to harm someone else, we are required to notify both that person and the authorities.
  • We are mandated reporters.  That means that, if you share information about abuse of a child or an elderly person that is happening right now, we are legally required to hotline that information.

Email Policy

Clients are welcome to email psychologists with scheduling questions or other concerns.  Because the privacy of email cannot be guaranteed, we encourage clients to consider other methods for communicating sensitive information. We return phone calls as promptly as possible. Because we may not see an email notification promptly, please do not use email to notify us of an emergency.  If you are in crisis, please call the emergency answering service at 913-967-1131. If you have a medical emergency, please to to a hospital or call 911.

Social Media Policy

Various members of the group use social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.  These tools provide outlets to share information.  We do not answer questions via social media because of its public status.  Please use email or telephone for questions.  We do not follow or connect with clients on social media, and we don’t encourage clients to follow any of us, although if you choose to do so, be aware that our social media accounts are public, and your name would be listed in our “followers” or “contact” lists.  Our primary concern is that my clients’ privacy be as protected as possible.  Any connection through social media presents a possible compromise of that privacy, so we do not encourage clients to do so.

Please contact a group member directly with any questions or concerns.