Policies and Practices of South Shore Counseling Center
Except for certain legally-defined situations mentioned below, any information learned about you during the course of psychotherapy will not be revealed to any other person without your specific written permission.
The law provides the following exceptions to this principle of confidentiality: The psychotherapist has a legal duty to inform or warn certain other persons whenever the psychotherapist has a reasonable cause to believe that a child or an elderly person’s being abused or if the psychotherapist has a rea sonable cause to believe that you pose a serious danger to doing bodily harm to a specific other person or to yourself. If ever a court of law issues a legitimate order requiring the psychotherapist to produce specific information about you, in spite of any attempts you may have made to invoke your privilege of confidentiality, the psychotherapist must provide that information to the court. State law also provides for the disclosure of dates of service if needed for the collection of unpaid fees. The psychotherapist is not required to inform you when a breach of confidentiality is required, but will attempt to do so unless it is deemed inappropriate.
The Standards of the profession require that sufficient and adequate records of psychotherapy be kept so as to enhance the capability of the psychotherapist to provide you with the appropriate service. The psychotherapist will always try to limit the information included in these records so as to protect your privacy.
Payment for services
The fee for psychotherapy will normally be
presented to you and agreed upon by the
conclusion of the first session. If health insurance
coverage is available to you, it
may cover outpatient psychotherapy. It remains
your responsibility to understand
your insurance coverage and to pay the
fee whether or not your insurance company
honors your claim. It is particularly
important to be aware of 1. whether your
insurance covers only certain "preferred
providers" who have contracts with your insurance
company, 2. the maximum limit of
outpatient mental health coverage, 3. the
percentage of the submitted fee that your
insurance pays, 4. the amount of the deductible
and whether it has been met for
this year, and, 5. the waiting period for
mental health benefits if your insurance
You should be aware that in order for claims to be processed, insurance companies require psychotherapists to provide them with a diagnosis and in some cases a treatment summary. This information becomes part of your records in the insurance company's files. Insurance compa nies maintain that they keep such information confidential.
Often sessions are scheduled for the same time each week so that a continuity of treatment can be established. Your psychotherapist will be as prompt as possible in beginning your session at the agreed upon time. In keeping with common practice, your psychotherapist requires a minimum of 24 hours notice of cancellation, except in cases of unplanned hospitalization or weather which makes travel impossible. An answering machine is available 24 hours a day for leaving messages. Please note that insurance companies will not pay for missed sessions and that you will be required to pay for missed sessions which have not been cancelled sufficiently in advance.
Our psychotherapists check for messages several times during the day. While they make every effort to be responsive, you should remember that the Center is not designed for emergency or crisis situations. If your psychotherapist is unable to respond as quickly as you feel is necessary, it may be appropriate for you to use the emergency services of a local hospital for immediate assistance.