Consent and Privacy
Purpose of Collecting and Holding Information
As part of providing a psychological service to you, the psychologist will need to collect and record personal information from you that is relevant to your current situation. This information forms a necessary part of the psychological assessment and subsequent treatment. You do not have to give all your personal information, and if you have any concerns about this process, please feel free to discuss this with the psychologist. The information gathered is seen only by the psychologist and is retained in order to document what happens during sessions. This enables the psychologist to provide a relevant and informed psychological service. Following cessation of services, the psychologist is required by law to store your information securely for a period of seven years, or in the case of a minor, for a period of seven years following the minor reaching the age of 18. After this time, the information is destroyed.
Access to Client Information
At any stage you as a client are entitled to access to the information about you kept on file, unless relevant legislation provides otherwise. The psychologist will discuss with you appropriate forms of access.
It is important that your privacy is protected at all times. All personal information gathered by the psychologist during the provision of the psychological service will remain confidential and secure except where:
- It is subpoenaed by a court, or
- Failure to disclose the information would place you or another person at serious and imminent risk; or
- Your prior approval has been obtained to:
- Provide a written report to another professional or agency. E.g., a general practitioner or a lawyer; or
b. Discuss the material with another person. E.g., a parent or employer; or
c. If disclosure is otherwise required or authorised by law.
Additionally, if you have been referred by a General Practitioner under a Mental Health Care Plan, please note that psychologists are required to report to the referring General Practitioner after six and ten sessions; the report will include brief information about your presenting concerns, treatment, progress, and recommendations.
In the situation where a client is receiving support from multiple professionals, it may be beneficial for the psychologist to establish contact with these other service providers to ensure co-ordination and consistency of your care and to provide the best quality service to you (e.g. to communicate assessment and treatment plans and reports, make telephone calls, make referrals to other agencies). The psychologist will discuss this with you and obtain your signed approval prior to this occurring.
Confidentiality for Individuals Under the Age of 18 Years
It is the policy of the psychologist that when young people are mature and competent to consent to psychological treatment and enter a therapeutic relationship, then they will receive a duty of confidentiality. The psychologist will provide general information to the parent/s about the progress of their child in therapy. Release of other information will only be permitted with the consent of the child, on the basis that the child is considered to be of sufficient maturity and intelligence to make decisions in their own best interests. In a situation where the psychologist believes there is a high risk of the young person harming themselves or others, the psychologist will notify parent/s of their concern, generally after discussing this with the child and often in consultation with a supervisor or colleague.
As part of your care, the psychologist may encourage you to complete a number of questionnaires to monitor your progress. There is no obligation to complete these questionnaires however, this may assist the psychologist with the assessment and allow for a more tailored approach to treatment. Questionnaire results are subject to the same confidentiality and information storage procedures as above.