Confidentiality is a demonstration of respect bestowed on the client by the counselor wherein information between the two will not be divulged by the counselor. Confidential communication exists usually by agreement where privileged communication does not inherently exist (Bersoff, 2008). Confidentiality is an ethical term referring to the fact that a therapist cannot reveal information, except in certain situations, a patient tells you in-session.
Privacy is. All practioners need to comply with the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy rule (Fisher, 2013). The privacy rule gives rights to health professionals, as well as to their patients. Under the new law, psychologists can decide whether to release their psychotherapy notes to patients, unless patients would have access to their psychotherapy notes under state law (APA.org, 2010). Though the privacy rule does afford patients the right to access and inspect their health records, psychotherapy notes are treated differently: Patients do not have the right to obtain a copy of these under HIPAA. And when a psychologist denies a patient access to these notes, the denial isn't subject to a review process, as it is with other records.
HIPAA affords psychotherapy notes more protection--most notably from third-party payers--than they'd been given in the past. Under HIPAA, disclosure of psychotherapy notes requires more than just generalized consent; it requires patient authorization--or specific permission--to release this sensitive information (APA.org, 2010).
Privileged communication is a legal doctrine (also known as therapist-patient privilege) that declares client-counselor therapeutic communications are to be kept private by the counselor (Tribbensee & Claiborn, 2003). Privilege is not an ethical term. The client, rather than the counselor, owns this legal privilege and generally, only the client has the right to release information from the relationship. When you are...