What are the limits of confidentiality?

And are they different with adolescents?

The Professional Board for Psychology sets out very strict ethical guidelines (HPCSA Act 56 of 1974) regarding client confidentiality and anything you tell me during interviews or via email or telephonic contact will be treated as private and confidential. There are some limits to confidentiality which are specified by law, in order to protect clients from self-harm or harming others and to prevent child abuse, and you will be expected to sign an agreement regarding this before we start any intake interview, assessment or therapy (you can download a copy of the therapy contract here.

I will not pass on information or test results concerning you or your adolescent child without your written consent. As a parent/guardian you have the right to receive or release information about your child – but please don’t expect to be given a word-for-word account of what takes place in the session with them. Therapeutic intervention is based on trust – and I won’t gain the trust of any client if I repeat things that they have told me in confidence (especially true of teenagers!) Rest assured that my ethical code dictates that if they are planning any self-injurious behaviour, or planning anything harmful or criminal towards others, I am obligated to share that. The client, on the other hand, is free to share anything they want to with friends or relatives.