All services provided by Health Services are confidential. No information can be provided to anyone without the written consent of the patient. The only exception to this is if the patient's illness is of a critical nature or they are at imminent risk of harm to self or others. These exceptions can be found listed further down the page.
Information shared by you during a counseling session will be kept in strict confidence. Counseling Services staff operates as a team in order to provide the best possible services to clients. As professionals we confer with each other within the agency. These consultations are for professional and/or training purposes only. Information will not be disclosed outside of Counseling Services without your written permission, with a few important exceptions.
Exceptions to Confidentiality
- Abuse of Children or the Elderly – If a staff member has reason to believe that a child under the age of 18 or an elderly person is being abused or neglected, s/he is legally obligated to report this situation to an appropriate state agency.
- Imminent Harm to Self – If a staff member has reason to believe that you are in danger of physically harming yourself, and if you are unwilling or unable to follow treatment recommendations, s/he may have to make an involuntary referral to a hospital and/or contact a family member or another person who may be able to help protect you.
- 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.
- Court Order – A court order, issued by a judge, may require Counseling Services staff to release information contained in records and/or require a therapist to testify in a court hearing.
- The ethical guidelines of the American Psychological Association and the laws of the State of Ohio guide the services offered by the counseling staff. These guidelines require that the information you share with your counselor will not be given to individuals who are not on the professional staff without your knowledge and written consent, and no record of your use of this service will be placed in your college records, placement files, or your official transcript. You should also know however, that counselors are required by law to report situations involving imminent danger to you or someone else, or circumstances involving the neglect or abuse of a child (under 18) or an elderly person. By law, we must also respond to court-ordered subpoenas of client records. Your counselor will inform you of his/her need to take such actions before they are initiated.
- Diverse in their professional backgrounds, and committed to providing high quality service to students, the staff of Whisler Center for Student Wellness frequently draw upon each other's knowledge in planning treatment approaches for students. Consequently, your counselor may consult with a colleague if it will be beneficial to you. In fact, such consultations are required by law if your counselor is a graduate student trainee, or is not yet licensed/certified in his or her professional specialty and must be supervised by a licensed psychologist.
- If you think it would be helpful to you for your counselor to consult with your parents, academic advisor, physician, or others about your situation, please let our secretary know and she will give you a copy of our “Authorization for Release of Information” form to complete prior to seeing your counselor. This will allow us to act immediately on your request.
- Because e-mail is not secure, we suggest that you keep your messages to your counselor brief and not go into extensive detail about your personal concerns. More specifically, we suggest that you e-mail us only to make or reschedule an appointment or to briefly describe a personal circumstance that you would be comfortable sharing publicly.
- Finally, Denison and the surrounding village of Granville comprise a small community, making it likely that you may cross paths with your counselor while walking down Chapel Walk, eating at a local restaurant, in a class, meeting, or other social event. Some students are uncomfortable when they encounter their counselor in such settings, and do not wish to be acknowledged; others are not distressed by these encounters and don't mind sharing in a mutual “hello” or even a brief discussion. We respect your right to choose how you will be treated on such occasions, so please discuss your preferences with your counselor during your first counseling session.