Confidentiality is an essential part of any clinical relationship. All aspects of your participation in clinical services at the Counseling and Mental Health Center, including the scheduling of appointments, content of counseling sessions, and any records that we keep, are confidential as outlined by federal and state law. Please read our Notice of Privacy Practices which provides more detail about how we handle your confidential information. Communication between a clinician and a client may only be disclosed:
- when the client signs a Consent Form and/or our release of information form authorizing such disclosure,
- in cases of immediate danger of serious harm to the client or someone else, or
- in other infrequent circumstances as described below under "Limits of Confidentiality."
Counseling records are maintained in files completely separate from the student's academic records and cannot be accessed by faculty, parents, or any non-CMHC staff without the client's signed authorization. Clients are encouraged to address any questions or concerns about this important issue with their clinician.
CMHC operates within professional ethical guidelines and applicable federal and state laws which protect the privacy of your mental health records.
Limits of Confidentiality
In most cases, your written and signed authorization is required before information concerning your care can be disclosed to individuals outside of CMHC, including parents, roommates, friends, faculty, and partners. Below are some of the cases in which the law dictates that your signed authorization may not be required in order for CMHC to release information:
- If a CMHC staff person believes that you are likely to harm yourself and/or another person, they may take action necessary to protect you or others by contacting law enforcement officers or a physician.
- If a CMHC clinician has cause to believe that a child has been or may be abused or neglected, the clinician is required to make a report to the appropriate state agency.
- If a CMHC clinician has cause to believe that an elderly or disabled person has been or may be abused, neglected, or subject to financial exploitation, the clinician is required to make a report to the appropriate state agency.
- Information disclosed about a person from whom you sought counseling behaving toward you in a sexually inappropriate manner must be reported (your identity may remain anonymous at your request).
- If your records are requested by a valid subpoena or court order, we must respond.
- If you are a minor (under the age of 18).
- If you are under the age of 18, Texas State Law requires that we obtain permission from your parent or managing conservator/guardian in most cases in order to offer you counseling services. This consent form can be found under Related Documents below.
About Your Counseling Record
Your counseling record contains documentation relevant to your care at the Counseling and Mental Health Center. It will be retained for at least seven years after your last contact for services.
- CMHC and University Health Services (UHS) use a collaborative approach and therefore work closely together; therefore, your mental health record will be accessible to UHS healthcare providers and other UHS medical personnel. This sharing of information is done for your safety and to facilitate the continuity of your care. Within CMHC, your counseling record is available to staff members who have a need to access it.
- Your counseling record is not a part of your academic record. If you choose to authorize release of your counseling record to an academic department, that information does become part of your academic record.