Limits of Confidentiality
Even on secure sites, internet communications cannot be guaranteed to be fully secure, as information may be intercepted, corrupted, lost, or someone may access your computer.
By writing an e-mail you are indicating that you understand the risks involved in electronic-communication and are willing to take responsibility for those risks and release The Whitestone Clinic, it’s staff and associates from liability.
If information you are providing is sensitive, for your own privacy, you may want to contact us by phone instead at 613-736-7217.
A guide to electronic communication and the legal exceptions to confidentiality as they pertain to a mental health therapist are provided below.
You are encouraged to keep your electronic mail (aka e-mail) communication short and clear so as to avoid any misinterpretation. Though you are writing a therapist this is not a medium for therapy as therapy cannot be communicated over written electronic messages due to privacy concerns and the other risks of using this medium for communicating psychological matters.
Please be advised that if you have not already signed an agreement with the therapist you are not considered a client and therefore what you write in this email is not protected by client-therapist confidentiality. Nonetheless, the therapist will keep what is communicated here private except where the law mandates the therapist to do otherwise.
Whether you are an existing client or not, any communication that reveals the following requires that the therapist report the content of the message to the appropriate authorities.
Exceptions to Confidentiality
Exceptions to Confidentiality will apply, when you:
1. Make a threat of suicide, homicide or violence toward another person. In such cases the therapist will contact emergency response services such as 911 or, the police, a hospital, the person named in the threat when applicable.
2. a) Make the therapist aware of any physical, sexual, verbal or emotional abuse of anyone under the age of 16. This includes substance abuse in the presence of minors or regular intoxication when supervising the minor(s). In such cases the therapist will make a report to the appropriate children’s protective agency according to your jurisdiction.
b) In the same way, this therapist may have to report any situation of elder abuse, including physical, sexual, verbal, emotional and financial abuses.
c) This reporting may also extend to persons of adult age, but not of a senior age, who are mentally challenged or are in some way incapacitated and cannot advocate for their own rights and protection from physical, emotional, verbal, sexual and financial abuse.
3. a) Mandatory reporting also applies to any revelation of abuse by any health service professional which falls under the Regulated Health Professions Act (1991) in Ontario (or the equivalent in your jurisdiction), such as a medical doctor, a nurse, another therapist, and so forth. The therapist will make a report to that professional’s governing college and, where mandated by law, your name may also be filed with that report.
b) This mandatory reporting also applies to you, whether client or not, if you are a health services professional and reveal that you have performed acts in violation of this law.
4. If a subpoena is issued for your file and/or this electronic communication.