It is necessary to keep records of services in order to ensure adherence to standards of care and to fulfill legal and ethical requirements. However, no information about counseling is released to anyone outside of Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) without a student’s written authorization. Not only is this the policy of CAPS, it is also required by law. CAPS makes no record of visits on academic transcripts or placement files. In this regard, the Dean’s Office and VMBS faculty and staff do not have any access to CAPS records.
However, there are some limits to confidentiality. In these rare cases, the law may allow or even require a therapist to protect a client or a third party. Limits to confidentiality include the following:
- When there is the risk of imminent harm to themselves or another person, therapists have an ethical duty to do whatever is necessary to protect life.
- When any individual has reason to believe that a child or mentally disabled person or an elderly person is in danger of or is being physically, emotionally, or sexually abused, that individual is obligated by law to report such abuse to the proper authorities.
- Therapists are required by law to report incidences of sexual misconduct on the part of other therapists.
- In Texas, there is no confidentiality in criminal procedures.
Additionally, the VMBS professional counselors may consult at times with other professional staff members of CAPS for the purpose of providing the best possible service. These colleagues are bound by the same limits of confidentiality.