Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

Confidentiality

Counseling involves the disclosure of sensitive personal and private information by clients.  Professional ethics and several laws protect the confidentiality of information shared in counseling.  Therefore, no acknowledgment that you have been seen at Counseling Services will be made, nor will information about your actual counseling be released to any outside agency or individual without your written permission, except as noted below:

  1. Staff Consultation and Supervision.  The Counseling Services staff operates as a team in order to provide the best possible service to clients.  Therefore, it is possible that the counselor you are working with may wish to consult with other staff members.  These consultations are for professional and/or supervision purposes only.
     
  2. Harm to Self.  If we have reason to believe that you are in danger of physically harming yourself, putting your safety at risk, or your unwillingness or inability to follow treatment recommendations puts you at risk of harm, we may be required to contact the police, College officials, a family member or another person.  If necessary, we may also seek voluntary or involuntary admission to a hospital to insure your safety.
     
  3. Harm to Others.  If we have reason to believe that you are threatening physical violence against another person or are a threat to the safety of another person, we may be required to take actions (such as contacting the police or College officials, notifying the other person, seeking involuntary hospitalization) to ensure that the other person is protected.
     
  4. When Required by a Court of Law.

The situations described in 2, 3, and 4, above are rare.  However, if they should occur, it is Counseling Services policy that, whenever possible, we will discuss with you any action that is being considered.  You should be aware that we are not legally obligated to inform you or seek your permission, especially if such a discussion would prevent us from securing your safety or the safety of others.  If disclosure of confidential information does become necessary, we will release only the information needed to protect you and/or another person.

Counseling Services confidential client files are stored electronically and on paper.  All information is secured to prevent unauthorized access. Records are kept for 5-10 years after a client’s graduation. Counseling Services’ treatment files are not linked to any other College records. We do not counsel students via e-mail and cannot guarantee the confidentiality of e-mail communications with our office.