Students’ right to confidentiality and privacy constitutes the basis of the therapeutic relationship established between a student and the Counseling Center. In order to safeguard the premise on which trust is established between students and the center, the latter provides counseling services that are strictly confidential and are in accordance with various laws and regulations to protect confidentiality and privacy. The Confidentiality Policy covers various domains that are outlined as follows:
The Counseling Center does not share personally identifiable information about a student or their relationship with the center without prior written consent by the student. The student shall consent to the Counseling Center to obtain from, release to, or share information with any external party e.g. University Health Services (UHS), parents, other professionals, etc… To further protect students’ right to privacy, center staff shall refrain from engaging in public discussions about students or from having private discussions with students in public spaces.
The Counseling Center only collects personally identifiable information that include a student’s personal information and presenting issue. The Counseling Center does not retain any other clinical documentation as part of its counseling records.
Such basic student counseling records shall be held at the Counseling Center and would be totally separate from their educational records or their general medical record held at UHS. Hard copies of student records are kept in locked cabinets located in locked offices and accessed only by Counseling Center staff. Computers containing soft copies of student emails and records are protected by passwords that are subject to change every 6 months. The transportation of records, in cases of emergency, is carried out by center staff in order to limit any potential breach of confidential information.
Disclosures of Confidential Information
All information shared during counseling remains confidential, with the following exceptions:
- The individual expresses thoughts and/or intentions to harm themselves or others
- The individual reports any form of physical abuse and/or harm to minors or elders or animals
- The court system subpoenas the Counseling Center’s records
Disclosures during these exceptions may include sharing personally identifiable information with the Office of Dean of Students and other relevant offices to ensure individual and/or collective safety. In some instances, higher administration officials may also be notified.
For any disclosure of information outside of the aforementioned exceptions, the Counseling Center would only be eligible to disclose information to third parties with the written consent of the student.
The Counseling Center provides a supportive environment to ensure the wellbeing of the university community. To be able to provide a safe space for students, the Counseling Center staff believe in their moral and ethical responsibility to be extremely sensitive to a student’s right to privacy. To this end, the confidentiality policy is put into effect.