Confidentiality & Your Rights
We respect your right to privacy and will ask only for information that is relevant to the work you want to do. We require your consent to obtain this information. Our policies and procedures for the collection, use, and disclosure of your personal information, conform to the Personal Information & Privacy Act. If you choose to not provide information we will inform you of how that choice will/will not affect the services we provide. If you have any questions regarding your personal information please contact Scott Harrison at the Sunwood Counselling office.
Limits of Confidentiality
It is important that you understand the confidential nature of your relationship with your counsellor. Everything that you disclose about yourself will be treated as confidential. No one at Sunwood Counselling will release your name, or information about you, or your counselling, to anyone outside of Sunwood Counselling without your informed, voluntary, and written consent, except as outlined below:
- If we obtain information which leads us to suspect that a child (18 and under) is at risk for, or has been, physically abused, sexually abused, emotionally abused, or neglected, we are legally obliged to make a report to the Ministry for Children & Family Development. We are also obliged to cooperate in providing information to the Ministry for Children & Family Development if the Ministry is conducting an investigation about the safety of a child. This is about protecting children from harm.
- If you inform us about any intent to commit an act which could result in the injury or death of another/others, we are legally obliged to contact the police. This is about protecting others from harm.
- If a counsellor has concerns that you are a danger to yourself, she/he will discuss with you any plan that they may need to take on your behalf (e.g. call a family member or family physician). However, in situations where your counsellor is unable to discuss this with you, they may need to proceed without your consent in order to fulfill their obligation to ensure your safety.
- We are ordered by court subpoena to release information to a third party, such as a lawyer.
- In order to ensure accountable, ethical, and effective clinical service your counsellor regularly consults with a clinical Supervisor, and or clinical colleagues, to obtain clinical consultation. Identifying information will be kept to an absolute minimum during any such clinical consultation.
Whenever it is safe and possible to do so, we will notify you of any situation where we are obliged to report. Our preference is to support you in making the actual report.
Furthermore, when working with couples, if one should attend an individual session it is understood that the content of the individual session will be confidential from your partner.
Release of Information
If you need your counsellor to release information to a third party, such as a Probation Officer, doctor, or lawyer, you must provide us with informed, written, and voluntary consent. We will provide you with an appropriate form. Discuss any need for this with your counsellor.
As a consumer of counselling services you have the right to:
- be treated with respect at all times.
- ask questions about anything that occurs during counselling.
- choose to not participate in any counselling technique suggested by your counsellor.
- end counselling at any time without any obligations other than paying for sessions already completed.
- complete confidentiality, within the above stated limitations.
- view all records in your file at any time you choose.
- have all or part of your records released to any person you choose.
- request a referral to other services.
If at any time you believe that your rights have been violated, or you have a complaint or concern about the services you have received and your concern is not being resolved to your satisfaction, you are encouraged to contact the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors at 1-800-909-6303.