If it's an older child, the law may protect the child's right to privacy.
This question is hard to answer as it really depends on
A) state law (for example, CA gives psychologists the authority to determine whether it is in the child's best interest or would not harm the child to disclose confidential information to their parents that was obtained in session and also gives some preteens and teenagers the right to make decisions about their confidential medical or mental health records/information files under certain circumstances.
B) why or under what circumstances am I meeting the child for treatment can be vital information if it sets the context and content of our sessions together. If 1 parent is favored or elicits sympathy over the other parent during a custodial rights hearing.
C) management of parental expectations relative to their child's understanding of confidentiality and the child's wishes with regards to their confidential information being shared. For example, I would find out what the parents are expecting, demanding, or insisting on knowing about their child's session content and progress as well as assessing whether the child understands the implications of disclosing their confidential information or that they are displaying rational, age-appropriate, or developmentally-congruent behavior that does not warrant parental concern or involvement.
In other words, I handle this on a case to case basis but always prefer that parents trust my judgment to inform them about things they absolutely need to know, whether law enforcement or other agency intervention is needed or may become involved, and if there are easy, simple, or largely. inconsequential adjustments they can make to better support their child or improve their lives overall. I believe in transparency and being straight forward and honest with clients, which begins with a sincere effort at advocating on their behalf, especially regarding maintaining confidentiality.
Where at all possible, give your child and your child's therapist the benefit of the doubt.
Ayfarah M. Frangieh M.D, FAAP
Dr. Claire PSY. D. Sent from iPhone
Each state has different guidelines on when children can seek mental health treatment and be considered an adult in terms of their privacy. Ask the provider what the laws governing privacy in your state are.
For minors, what I do is discuss the law with the parents and child, but create a sense of privacy and safety for the child to be open so they do not feel like I am going to share everything with their parents. I let everyone know that there are certain things I must tell parents, such as anything dangerous or life-threatening going on, but I'd like to keep other less concerning things between the child and this writer. At the end of each session, I will provide an update on areas which we have all agreed is open for discussion. I know I can't develop a good relationship with the child if I am telling their parents everything; it's a balance that parents must learn to tolerate and trust.
I hope this is helpful.
under 14 then the therapist or psychiatrist can share information with
you. If the child is 14 or older, he or she has the right to give consent
(or not) for information to be shared, and the treating clinician would
need the client's written permission to do so.
Given that I do not know the age of your child or any consent forms signed, I cannot give you a direct answer. However, let’s make an assumption that your child is 16 and deemed competent, has appropriate insight and judgment, then they have the right to confidentiality.
Your heart is in the right place, however sometimes children need to express their feelings in a way they feel comfortable which is where confidentiality comes in. You can certainly ask your child and be there as a parental figure and not their therapist. Also, if deemed competent legally, your child has a right to confidentiality and does not have to tell you, but they may decide to on their own volition.
- Will he update you briefly after each session?
- Will he meet with you and your child occasionally?
- Will the entire family need to attend some sessions?
- Are you able to call or email him between appointments for updates?
If you are already in therapy, and don't know the answers to these questions, ask to talk with the therapist for 5 minutes at the beginning of the next appointment.
Child therapists usually handle this issue based on a few factors: state law, the kid's age and ability, the specific concern, and the therapist's work style. For younger children, many therapists keep parents informed about the developments in therapy that occur, when the parent is not present. For tweens and teens who may be addressing issues that are hard to talk about with a parent, the ground rules may be different.
Each state has laws that govern what rights a child and a parent have to manage information and privacy. Because of this, the age a minor can assume responsibility for their information differs depending on where you live and where the therapy is taking place. In some cases, psychiatrists get written permission from a parent to prescribe medication for a minor.
It is usually helpful for the parent and therapist/psychiatrist (and often including the child) to have a discussion about what will be updated to the parent and how. Agreements will differ based on the child's age, your local laws, and the issue being addressed. When looking for a therapist or psychiatrist, this is one of the areas you can ask them about as you are interviewing possible providers. Many child mental health workers also have an informal agreement made between the child and parent about how information will be disclosed as the therapist may feel this is important to help develop trust and a good working relationship with the child.
Todd Koser, Psy.D.
NJ & PA Licensed Psychologist