All information shared with the mental health professionals at Counseling Services is confidential and no information will be released without student-client written consent. There are specific exceptions as mandated by California state laws, which include:
- When there is reasonable risk of danger to the student-client or to another person, group of people, or property, the mental health professional is required to take reasonable steps to prevent such danger;
- When there is reasonable suspicion that a child (i.e., person under age 18), elder (i.e., person over age 65), or dependent adult (i.e., person over age 18 who is in the custodial care of someone else) is being abused or is at risk of abuse, the mental health professional is required to take reasonable steps to protect the person and to inform the proper authorities;
- When a valid legal request is made for mental health records, the mental health professional and Counseling Services are required to comply with such requests.
Counseling Services maintains secure electronic client records, which include demographic information, treatment goals, therapy progress, and any correspondence related to the student-client. Extensive safeguards exist to protect the security of the mental health records and only professional staff who are involved in treatment have access to these records.
- All student-clients have the legal right to access their confidential Counseling Services records. If desired, a "Release of Information" form must be filled out, signed, and dated in ink.
- Releases of Information may be faxed, emailed or hand-delivered to Counseling Services.
- Releases of Information are not accepted from anyone except the student-client, the legal representative of the student-client (as defined by law) or the beneficiary/personal representative of a student-client (if they are deceased).
- When a valid Release of Information is received, the relevant information will be provided within 30 days, as required by law.
Relevant Confidentiality Laws
- All Counseling Services actions and records are provided in accordance with relevant laws in the State of California. For more information, please refer to the California Board of Psychology.
- Counseling Services does not meet the definition of a HIPAA-covered entity.
- Counseling Services' student-client records are considered "exempt" under FERPA. Therefore, a campus-wide FERPA waiver does NOT apply to any records held by Counseling Services.
Informed Consent Sample Form
I understand that, once my mental health professional and I have decided on a course of treatment, regular attendance and active participation is expected for the duration of my treatment. I understand that if I do not provide at least 24 hours notice when I am unable to attend a scheduled appointment, a $20 fee will automatically be charged to my student account. I understand that if I do not attend 2 sessions without canceling within 24 hours before the appointment, I may be required to consult with my therapist about treatment progress before making another appointment.
I understand that I may contact Counseling Services in person, via phone or e-mail. I understand that e-mail and cell phones are not a confidential way of communicating. I understand that I may call Counseling Services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I understand that my therapist may not be immediately available and that I will be allowed to either leave a message (i.e., if it is not an emergency) or request to speak to a mental health professional who is immediately available (in a crisis situation). I understand that I can contact the following resources in an after-hours emergency: Counseling Services Crisis Line (24/7): 805-756-2511 University Police: 805-756-2281 San Luis Obispo County HOTLINE (24 hour crisis line): 800-783-0607 San Luis Obispo County Mental Health: 805-781-4700 Crisis TEXT Line: Text HELLO to 741741
I understand that Counseling Services maintains secure electronic client records which include demographic information about me, treatment goals, therapy progress, and any correspondence. I understand that extensive safeguards exist to protect the security of my mental health records and only professional staff who are involved in my treatment have access to these records, including Psychiatry when applicable. I understand that my therapist may share information with a Health Services provider or confidential Safer Advocate if necessary for the coordination of my treatment. If I receive care from a Counseling Services provider in Health Services, I understand that my therapist will give follow up information to the referring Health Services provider.
Except for coordination of my treatment, I understand that all information shared with the mental health professionals at Counseling Services is confidential and no information will be released without my written consent. Additionally, I understand that there are specific legal exceptions to confidentiality, which include:
1. When there is reasonable risk of danger to myself or to another person, group of people, or property, the mental health professional is required by law to take reasonable steps to prevent such danger; a. This could include, but is not limited to, members of the campus Students of Concern Team;
2. When there is reasonable suspicion that a child (i.e., person under age 18), elder (i.e., person over age 65), or dependent adult (i.e., person over age 18 who is in the custodial care of someone else) is being abused or is at risk of abuse, the mental health professional is required by law to take reasonable steps to protect the person and to inform the proper authorities;
3. If I am under the age of 16 and was the victim of a crime;
4. If I have engaged in preparing, selling, accessing, streaming, downloading, viewing, and/or distributing material of a minor (i.e., person under age 18) engaged in “obscene” acts, including modeling the act or posing for a video, painting, or drawing of an obscene act, including “sexting;”
5. When a valid legal request is made for my mental health records. I understand that while counseling and psychological assessment may provide significant benefits, they may also pose risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, uncomfortable thoughts, feelings, and/or memories.
I understand that there are a variety of treatment alternatives for any given issue and there is the possibility that the services provided will not lead to the desired outcome. I understand that active participation and honesty are essential to effective treatment. I understand that I may terminate services at any time but that premature termination may result in my treatment goals remaining unmet.
I understand that if I am uncomfortable with my therapist, or my therapist is not available for an extended period of time, I can request another mental health professional at any time by talking to my therapist, the front desk staff, or the Director. I understand that if I have any questions regarding this consent form or the services offered at Counseling Services, I may discuss them with my therapist, their supervisor, or the Director. I have read and understand the information above. I consent to participate in the assessment and/or treatment offered to me by Counseling Services. I understand that I may stop treatment at any time.