About Confidentiality at PACS
Psychological and Counseling Services is committed to protecting the privacy and confidentiality of all client health information. Our policies and procedures are in compliance with New Hampshire laws and our Professional Code of Ethics governing the safeguard of client privacy.
All interactions with PACS are considered strictly confidential. Confidentiality will be reviewed with all new clients during their first appointment at PACS.
Under New Hampshire Law, communications between a client and psychotherapist are privileged (confidential) and may not be disclosed without the specific authorization of the client except under specific, limited circumstances:
- If your counselor believes that your safety or that of others is at risk, it is our legal and ethical responsibility to act to keep you or others safe. This may necessitate the release of confidential information.
- New Hampshire law requires psychotherapists to report the following: hazing, suspicion of child abuse, neglect or exploitation, abuse of an incapacitated adult, opioid abuse by a parent or guardian in a home where minor children are present, or a “serious threat of physical violence” to a person or property.
- Your counseling records, or portions of them, may be released if a court orders PACS to do so.
- Group therapy: Unlike individual treatment, confidentiality of group therapy is not privileged, and therefore is not protected by law. However, group members are screened prior to the start of group and must sign and abide by a written confidentiality agreement prior to participating in the group.
- Couples therapy: Treatment records of couples’ sessions contain information about each person. Both clients should be aware that either person has a right to obtain treatment records. If one of you requests your records it is our policy to notify the other member of the couple and to afford that individual an opportunity to receive a copy of the records as well.
- As part of maintaining a license to practice, clinicians are required to regularly discuss cases with colleagues. We must obtain formal supervision on certain cases when necessary. In these situations, we do not disclose the identity of the client, and all colleagues and office staff are legally bound by confidentiality as well.
- PACS is accredited by the International Association of Counseling Services, Inc., and our files may be reviewed by IACS site visitors as part of our quality review process.
- FOR MATURE MINORS: If you are under the age of 18, we cannot treat you without parental consent. Parental control over your treatment includes their right to access and release your medical records. For therapy to be effective, we generally counsel parents to let their mature minor be the one to provide information about their treatment. Under very limited circumstances, a minor may prevent parental access to treatment records through a court hearing. In the event you object to either parent having access to treatment records, you are encouraged to raise this issue with your counselor and with the other parent or with a guardian ad-litem, if one has been appointed. Upon turning 18, the client gains control over treatment information and records.
We keep a record of all services provided. Records are stored in an electronic format and managed electronically. We strive to protect the security of our records and maintain practices in accordance with federal and state protection guidelines. We use appropriate firewall protection, data encryption, and password protection to ensure the privacy of your record. You also may ask us to correct that record if you find it to be in error. We will not disclose your record to others unless you direct us to do so, or unless the law authorizes or compels us to do so (see Confidentiality above). You may review and receive a copy of your record in a hardcopy version and may obtain more information about it by asking your counselor or the Director at PACS.
Release of professional records requires a signed Release of Information form (must be signed by parent or guardian if student is under 18 years old).