The Collaborative Counseling Center (CCC) Policy Statement provides important information for clients. If you decide you would like to work with us, you will be given a hardcopy of the Policy Statement.
The information shared in sessions, and the written records of the sessions, are confidential. This means they cannot be shared with anyone without your permission. However, there are certain situations when it is required by law to disclose information.
Disclosure is required by law when there is a reasonable suspicion of abuse or neglect of a child, of a disabled person, of the elderly, of animals; when a client presents a danger to him or herself (for example, is suicidal); when a client presents a danger to others; when there is prenatal exposure to controlled substances; when a client is contemplating it and there is the possible future commission of a crime or harmful act. In these situations, therapists are professionally required to notify the legal authorities and to make reasonable attempts to notify the client’s family.
In some states, when a client presents as a danger to others, the therapist is required by law to notify the person who is in possible danger of being harmed by the client.
Disclosure may be required if a client is involved in a legal proceeding and has put his or her mental status at issue in a litigation initiated by the client, the defendant may have the right to obtain therapy records and/or testimony from the treating therapist.
Disclosure may be required in certain emergency situations, either while a person is a current client of or after termination, when the treating therapist becomes concerned about a client’s safety, or about a client possibly injuring someone else, or about a client receiving proper psychiatric care. In these situations, the treating therapist will do whatever possible within the limits of the law to prevent a client from injuring themselves or others, and to ensure that the client receives proper medical care. The treating therapist may also contact the person(s) whose name was provided by the client as an emergency contact and/or a client’s family.
Disclosure may be required by health insurance companies in order to process claims and authorize treatment. In these situations, only the minimum of information necessary will be shared with the insurance company. Please note that CCC and the treating therapists have no control over what insurance companies do with the information submitted as required, or who has access to the information.
Therapists often consult with other professionals in order to provide the highest quality care and services. CCC and all treating therapists strive to fully maintain client confidentiality, therefore, client names and other identifying information are never shared during consultative conversations.
CCC. treating therapists, and clients agree that should there be any legal proceedings including but not limited to divorce disputes, custody disputes, lawsuits, injuries, neither the client, the client’s attorneys, nor any other person or agency acting on behalf of the client will call on the treating counselors UNLESS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY to testify in court or at any other type of proceeding, nor will a disclosure of session records be requested for these purposes.
The treating therapist will, if it is still appropriate after the above exclusions, release protected information to you or to a person or agency you specify upon your written request. Please note: the treating therapist may assess that a release of information may be harmful to a client. If such an assessment is made, information will not be released.
Treating therapists keep and maintain client session records. These records may include communications between sessions and information provided by other professionals in addition to client and session documentation.
Should a treating therapist be away for an extended period of time, for example on vacation, the treating therapist’s Custodian of Records will have access to client records in case of emergency.
Records are kept under two locks and are available to others only with the client’s written permission to release and information according to the conditions detailed above. Records are kept for ten years (or ten years after a client’s date of majority) after which time records are destroyed. Treating therapists will attempt to notify clients when their records are to be destroyed.
Clients have the right to review or receive a summary of their records at any time except in limited legal or emergency situations or when their treating therapist has assessed that releasing such information may be harmful in some way. In these cases, the treating therapist will provide the records to an appropriate and legitimate mental health professional.
If you are experiencing a crisis or emergency call 911 immediately.
CCC and the treating therapists do not provide crisis and/or emergency services.
Each treating therapist will provide their clients with their specific policies regarding between-session communications. Calls are returned as soon as possible, typically within two to three business days.
Your treating therapist uses HIPAA-compliant emailing through specific online providers for all client emailing of in-session communications which involve disclosure(s) of confidential protected health information.
CCC and treating therapists may use other email providers for communications outside of sessions and/or for communications which do not involve disclosure(s) of confidential protected health information. CCC and your treating therapist cannot in any way guarantee the confidentiality of these communications and have no control over who may see them when in electronic transit, therefore at no time will personal, medical, or identifying client information be mentioned in any non-HIPAA compliant email communication.
CCC and your treating therapist cannot be held responsible for the privacy, security, encryption, or choice of any email provider that is made by a client for their use when sending and receiving email communications with CCC and/or their treating therapist.
Your treating therapist will share with your their specific policies regarding instant messaging. Typically, treating therapists do not use instant messaging when communicating with clients or other professionals as these platforms tend to not be HIPAA compliant.
REMEMBER: If you are experiencing a crisis or emergency call 911 immediately.
Treating therapists will provide their clients with the telephone number to use in order to contact them. Messages can be left on the treating therapist’s voicemail. Calls will be returned as soon as possible, typically within two to three business days. Please do not leave detailed or private health information in the voicemail message.
Treating therapists will have occasions to leave voicemail messages for clients. These messages will not disclose any of the client’s protected health information. Should a client not wish for their treating therapist to leave voicemail messages, or have specific requests regarding the phrasing of messages, and/or specific requests as to where to leave voicemail messages (phone number to use or not to use), this will be discussed during initial sessions.
Telephone conversations between CCC, treating therapists, and clients whether in-session or outside of sessions, are not recorded.
CCC and all treating therapists respect their clients’ confidentiality and fully comply with HIPAA regulations regarding protected health information and privacy.
Your treating therapist will share with your their specific policies regarding texting. Typically, treating therapists do not text when communicating with clients or other professionals as these platforms are usually not HIPAA compliant.
Your treating therapist will share with you their specific policies regarding video sessions and TeleMental Health.
CCC and your treating therapist do everything in their power to support HIPAA compliance regarding clients’ protected health information and privacy.
Social Networking Media and Search Engines
CCC and your treating therapist do not follow current or former clients on any social networking website or on blogs.
CCC and your treating therapist do not accept friend requests, requests to join, or any other requests from current or former clients for any social networking website.
CCC and your treating therapist do not “follow” and/or “fan” and/or “friend” and/or “like” and/or “don’t like” and/or communicate with current or former clients on any social networking website.
If a client needs to contact their treating therapist, the accepted communication methods are listed above under the headings “Emergency Procedures,” “Email and Instant Messaging,” “Telephone,” and “Virtual Conferencing.” If you are experiencing an emergency or crisis situation, call 911 immediately.
CCC and your treating therapist do not search for clients on search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Dogpile, Ixquick, etc. Exceptions to this are emergency situations where your treating therapist suspects a client is in danger and the client has not been in touch with his or her therapist by way of the usual means, (telephone, session emails, session instant messaging, session virtual conferencing, etc.) In these instances, a social media networking website and/or a search engine may be used to find another person close to a client or in order to ascertain a client’s welfare. These are extremely rare instances. Should your treating therapist need to resort to such measures, it will be discussed with the client during the next session.
The Therapy Process
Taking part in the therapeutic journey can have many positive results which may benefit and improve many areas of your life. The experience and the work of therapy can also bring forward painful events and memories requiring your dedication and effort, honesty and openness to move through. Remembering, talking about, and sharing unpleasant feelings, events, or thoughts can cause feelings of discomfort, anxiety, sleeplessness, depression, anger, sadness, disappointment. Email and telephone therapies can be limited by the lack of visual cues. As with everything in life, there are no guarantees of positive results with therapy – or even intended results. Change and growth can be unpredictable. Every step along the way, the decision to continue is yours.
Treatment Process and Treatment Planning
Typical sessions run for either thirty minutes, forty-five minutes, or sixty minutes. The frequency and length of individual and group sessions are carefully planned by treating therapists to match each person’s needs and situation.
Assessments are completed within a reasonable time-frame, typically about two weeks. Evaluations include a written assessment based on client interviews; an individualized plan and recommendations; relevant resources list; outside referral suggestions, if necessary. Assessments and evaluations are usually completed before therapy begins.
Information and history are gathered during the initial sessions. Many questions may be asked. You will need to complete various forms and questionnaires. You may need to request your medical records. The information gathered is used to help formulate the assessment.
All client questions are welcome. If you should have any unanswered questions about any of the approaches used in your sessions by your treating therapist, about possible risks, or about your personalized plan, please ask. It is your right to know about treatment plans, risks, benefits. If you feel you might benefit from a treatment not provided by your treating therapist, please let your treating therapist know. All therapists are ethically obligated to help you to obtain those treatments.
An important part of the initial assessment process is determining if your treating therapist is a right fit for you. Therapists try to not accept clients whom they feel they cannot best help. In these situations, you will be provided with referral information to more appropriate agencies and/or practitioners for you to contact.
If at any time you would like another professional’s opinion or want to consult with another therapist, your treating therapist will provide you with names of other qualified professionals and/or agencies with whom you may prefer to work. Typically, there is a final exit session between client and therapist where this information can be shared.
Billing & Payment
Sessions are scheduled in advance and are 30 minutes, 45 minutes, or 60-minutes in length. Should a scheduled session extend its time, and the extension was not scheduled in advance, clients may be billed at the longer session rate for that session, at the treating therapist’s discretion.
Each treating therapist bills their clients separately. Treating therapists will inform their clients of their current rates, insurance accepted, methods of payment, and the availability of sliding fee scales or payment plans.
If you need to cancel a scheduled session, please notify your treating therapist at least 24 hours in advance. Clients may be charged a fee up to the full session price for a missed or cancelled session if less than 24 hours advance notice is provided.