Are sessions confidential?

Yes, but it is important to explain what ‘confidential’ means. As a general rule, I will not discuss with anyone anything that you tell me in therapy. However, because I have a duty to keep you and others safe, there are some important exceptions where I may need to break confidence. These are:

  • If you do something or tell me something that leads me to conclude that you or others are, or will be, in danger, I may have to act on this to protect you or whoever might be in danger. Ideally, I will discuss this with you first, or seek your permission to act, but, depending on the urgency of the situation, I may have to break confidence and act immediately without your consent. Such action may be to contact the emergency contact person nominated by you, your GP or the emergency or social services.
  • If you tell me something that leads me to suspect that a child has been or is being abused, or is at risk of being abused, I have a duty to make a report to Tusla, the State’s child and family agency. This includes disclosures of retrospective abuse (also known as historical abuse) that an adult experienced during their childhood because there could be a current or future risk to children (identifiable or not) from the person subject to the allegation of abuse (identifiable or not). It is Tusla’s role to assess this risk.
  • I may discuss something that you have told me in confidence with my supervisor. My supervisor is an experienced psychologist with whom I meet periodically, or on whom I may call, to obtain advice or a further opinion when I feel that this is appropriate or required. My supervisor is, of course, also bound to confidentiality.

If I am in any doubt about my obligations or what I should do, I will, if possible, discuss the matter with my supervisor before taking any action. This does not preclude circumstances arising whereby you provide me with consent to disclose certain information to certain third parties or other circumstances arising whereby my discretion to protect the confidentiality of your attendance in therapy is removed. Please be aware that all psychotherapists have similar confidentiality understandings and procedures in place.