Confidentiality is an essential part of any counseling relationship. The Student Counseling Center staff adheres to the ethical standards of their professions and to state and federal laws relating to confidentiality. These standards and laws prevent us from speaking with concerned parents about their student's contact with the center unless we have the student's written permission. Thus, unless your student gives us written permission, we cannot acknowledge whether your student has been seen at the center or is making progress in counseling.
Many students prefer to keep their counseling completely private, and such privacy is typically vital for successful counseling.
Exceptions to Confidentiality
One exception to confidentiality with parents is when a student is under 18 years of age. This will be discussed with a student prior to them seeing a counselor.
There are additional exceptions to confidentiality, including when we are concerned that a student is clearly and imminently suicidal, when we learn of ongoing child abuse, or when we are ordered to release confidential information by a court of law. In these cases described above, counselors can inform law enforcement or medical personnel.
Sharing Student Concerns
Even if your student does not give their counselor permission to provide information to you, you may choose to contact a counselor to share your concerns. Such contact may make sense, for example, if you are concerned that your student is in serious danger.
Please note, however, that in these instances of parents contacting a counselor without permission for the counselor to speak to the parent, the counselor will be unable to even acknowledge knowing your student, and the counselor will want to discuss any information you provide with your student.