In accordance with federal and state laws, the use of Counseling Center services by students is strictly confidential. Information about a student (including whether or not a student has received services at the Counseling Center) cannot be shared with individuals outside the Center (including faculty, staff, administrators, fellow students, family members, and friends) without that student’s written permission. In addition, a student’s use of Counseling Center services does not become part of his or her academic record.

Limits to confidentiality

There are legal limits to confidentiality. In rare circumstances, such as the following, information may be released:

  • When a student signs a written request to have information released
  • When a student discloses intention to commit suicide or homicide/serious physical harm to others
  • When a student’s behavior is assessed to be erratic or dangerous enough to pose a direct threat to self or others
  • When information is disclosed that a child or dependent adult somewhere is being abused or neglected
  • When a judge orders that information be provided via subpoena

In the event that information about a student must be released because of one or more of the above exceptions to confidentiality, the student will be informed fully.

Communicating with on-campus providers of medical and psychiatric services

For resident students and students-in-crisis, Counseling Center staff may need to share information with Student Health Center staff, including the staff psychiatrist. In particular, resident students who experience mental health emergencies and students who receive services from the Health Center psychiatrist should be aware that information will be shared between Health Center and Counseling Center staff members. The sole purpose of this communication is to ensure that students receive the most appropriate, efficient, and effective care and support possible.

Maintaining quality services

Counselors receive regular supervision of their work. Any information shared with supervisors or consultants is kept strictly confidential. The goal of supervision is to enable counselors to provide the best services possible. Students will be informed if a counselor is receiving supervision.

If you have any questions regarding confidentiality and its limits, please contact the Counseling Center director by calling (703) 526-6861.