The mental health laws in Pennsylvania recognize the confidentiality of exchange between the counselor and the client. In addition, the actual record of services and files pertaining to the clients’ treatment are considered confidential. These written records cannot be released without the written consent of the client.
There are a few exceptions to this rule…
Should the client disclose that he or she is a abusing a child under the age of 18, the counselor is required to report the disclosed abuse to the ChildLine, Pennsylvania’s child abuse reporting line.
Should the client disclose the abuse of a vulnerable adult, the counselor is required to report such abuse to the appropriate state agency.
Duty to Warn and Protect
The duty to warn and protect includes both a client’s disclosure to harm themselves and/or someone else. When a client discloses an intent to harm themselves, it is the counselor’s responsibility to protect them through the report of such intent to the appropriate authorities. Should the client disclose an intent to harm another individual, the counselor is responsible for warning that individual and reporting such intent to the proper legal authorities.
*American Counseling Association: Achilles Counseling Services abides by the ethical standards outlined in the Code of Ethics of the American Counseling Association.