Confidentiality and Parents
Confidentiality is an essential part of any counseling relationship.
The Counseling Center staff adhere 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.
The only exception occurs when a student is under 18 years of age. There are additional exceptions to confidendiality 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, counselors can inform law enforcement or medical personnel.
Many students prefer to keep their counseling completely private, and such privacy is typically vital for successful counseling. Assuming your student is, however, willing to have one of the counselors discuss her or his participation in counseling with you, one good way to arrange for this is by asking your student to have the counselor call you during a counseling session.
The counselor will then have your student complete and sign the necessary form, and may call you using a "speaker telephone," so that all concerned can participate in the conversation.
Note that, in general, counseling is best served if everything parents have to share with their student's counselor is also shared with their student.
Even if your student doesn't give her or his 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.
Note, however, that the counselor will not be able to even acknowledge knowing your student, and that the counselor will want to discuss any information you provide with your student.