ETHICS

I abide by the American Counseling Association (ACA) and American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA) professional codes of ethics.

 Dual Relationships

Our relationship is a strictly professional, rather than a personal, one. Please understand that, while I do genuinely care for my clients’ well being, I am specifically prohibited from initiating or having any relationship with you outside of the counseling relationship. This is to protect your best interests. Therefore our contact will be limited to only counseling sessions. It also means I cannot engage with you via technology or social media (for example, Facebook) because it blurs the professional boundary. Simple communication via telephone or email is acceptable (for example, to confirm or change an appointment), but I am not able to provide therapy or respond to therapeutic issues via these forms of communication.

If we unexpectedly encounter each other in a public or social situation, please know that I will not approach or address you in a familiar way, other than giving the same polite smile or “hello” that I would offer any stranger. This is not to be awkward or rude but, rather, to protect your confidentiality – especially since others in the situation may know that I am a counselor. If you wish to approach me, initiate a conversation, and/or introduce me to people you are with, that is entirely your choice. Be assured that I will not be offended if you do not. If any situation like this arises, know that we can talk about it during your next therapy session.

 Records and Confidentiality

One of my highest priorities is protecting your confidentiality in all matters within the scope of the law. You are protected according to federal law (Regulation 42 CFT Part 2). Also Title 22 of the Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 681, Subchapter C, Rule 681.45 provides that communications between a licensee and client, and client’s records, however created or stored, are confidential under the provisions of the Health and Safety Code, Chapter 611. Section 611.002 (a) provides that communication between a patient and a professional are confidential.

However there are some limits to confidentiality. Here are a few of those exceptions: a) Under court orders I can be forced to relinquish records for judicial matters; b) Situations in which you are potentially suicidal; c) In instances where there is child abuse, neglect of minors, abuse of persons with disabilities, or elder abuse; d) Circumstances where you try to harm or threat to harm another individual; e) Information may be provided to parents, if the client is a minor.

Texas Administrative Code 681.41(p) states that, as an LPC, I must retain adult patient records for a minimum of seven years before destroying them. I must retain the records of patients who are minors (or who were minors when they began treatment) for a minimum of seven years beyond the time that the child reaches age 18.