Your right to privacy...
Unless required by law, or by a duty of care to protect you or others from harm, I cannot release information about you or our conversations unless you give me written permission to do so. However, there may be times when you might you need me to disclose confidential information about you, for example, if you need supporting documentation from me in the form of a report for legal matters, sick leave/ workers compensation, or a psychological assessment.
In counselling, people quite often disclose suicidal thoughts. Suicidal thoughts are a common experience that many people will have in their life. However, if your suicidal thoughts are beyond your control and you are at a stage where nobody can say or do anything to help you stay safe, then it is my duty of care to do everything in my power to keep you from ending your life. In doing so I may need to get external help or consult with a family member, carer or partner.
If I have concerns that you are at risk of harm from someone, we need to do whatever we can to protect you (and if relevant, the children in your care). I have worked with hundreds of people experiencing domestic violence and I have a very strong understanding of the difficulties that people experience in keeping themselves safe.
If I have concerns that you are a danger to others, including those in your care, it is my duty of care to protect those people. You are still my client, but I need to protect you from destroying your life and the life of others.
Sometimes in legal cases, I am called upon to give evidence about the problems you are experiencing - for example in the case of sexual abuse, domestic violence or a workplace complaint. In this situation, I am still required to preserve as much confidentiality as possible.
For more information about confidentiality and counselling please check out the Australian Psychological Society code of ethics here.