Confidentiality

The UM Student Counseling Center is a centrally administered program with private offices separate from all of the schools on campus. None of the professional staff in the Center have teaching responsibilities. We are also not a training site for any of the schools.

The Counseling Center staff operates as a team in order to provide the best possible service. As professionals, we confer with each other within the Center. The purpose of these consultations is to ensure that we are offering the highest level of care to our clients.

Protection

There are laws and ethical standards protecting your confidentiality.

The Counseling Center is generally required to obtain your written authorization before disclosing any information about you. The required release of information form is available for download
here.

Counseling records are stored in a locked file cabinet and no one outside of the Center is permitted access to them. Records are shredded seven years after your last contact with the Counseling Center. Computer data records are maintained in a secure, electronic database. No one outside of the Counseling Center is permitted access to your records.

SCC maintains confidential records of group counseling. Individual group member's records are kept separate from other group members’ records and cannot be accessed by them. All members are required to sign a group agreement agreeing not to disclose to anyone outside the group any information that may identify another member. This includes, but is not limited to, names, physical descriptions, biographical information, and specifics to the content of interactions with other members.

Exceptions

Your confidentiality when using Counseling Center services is protected but it is not absolute.  There are some exceptions under the law when we are required to share information about you. While this is not a complete list, some of the most common exceptions to confidentiality are the following:

  • Imminent Harm to Self - If a staff member has reason to believe that you are in danger of physically harming yourself, s/he may have to contact a family member or another person who may be able to keep you safe, or may have to make an involuntary referral to a hospital.
  • Imminent Harm to Others - If a staff member has reason to believe that you are seriously threatening physical violence against another person, or if you have a history of physically violent behavior, and if s/he believes that you are an actual threat to the safety of another person, s/he may be required to take some action (such as contacting the police, notifying the other person, seeking involuntary hospitalization, or some combination of these actions) to insure that the other person is protected.
  • Child Abuse or Elder Abuse - If you report anything about a child under the age of 18 being abused or neglected, or a vulnerable adult being abused or neglected, present or past, we are required to make a report to Child Protective Services or Adult Protective Services.

Should any of these exceptions occur, we will release only the necessary information under the circumstances or as needed to comply with the law.  

Requests for Release of Records

Please refer to the Release of Information page for details.

If you have any questions concerning the UM Student Counseling Center’s policies and practices concerning confidentiality please do not hesitate to call the Director, Emilia K. Petrillo, LCSW-C at 410-328-8404.