Confidentiality

You, Confidentiality, & Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA)

A label that says Your privacy & confidentiality are important

Page updated 06-19-2019. By Lucrezia Mangione, MA, LPC, LCPC, NCC, BC-TMH,, DCEP.

Confidentiality is vital to the practice of counseling and psychotherapy.  Safe places are needed to share what you want to share and needs to be said, especially with your counselor and/or psychotherapist.  Without safety, the environment to process and work through the challenges you face is compromised.

Under very specific circumstances, there will be exceptions to confidentiality. In general, who you are, your name, your demographics and all data associated with your past, present and future health PLUS more is protected by law. However there are certain exceptions to this law which are also written into the same rules. These rules and laws is called HIPAA, for short. Read on for more basic information about HIPAA.

Your protected health information and the exceptions to it are clearly established at the state and federal level under what’s called the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule.  All healthcare providers are subject to it, not just your counselor and/or psychotherapist.  It is very detailed info.

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Crisis Emergency Numbers

Need help now, 24/7?

  • ANYWHERE IN U.S.:
  • 911 or nearest emergency room or
  • 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or 1-800-784-2433 (1-800-SUICIDE) or
  • Veterans: 1-800-273-8255 & Press 1 or Text: 838255 or TTY 1-800-799-4889  or
  • LGBT Youth Suicide: 1-866-4-U-TREVOR
  • CT LOCAL SERVICES:
  • 1-866-794-0021: Crisis Intervention Team, Oxford
  • 1-203-736-2601: Crisis Intervention Team, Oxford
  • CT Crisis Services Listing Link
  • MD & VA, DMV SERVICES:
  • 240-777-4000: Crisis Hotline, Montgomery County, MD
  • 800-422-0009: Maryland state-wide Crisis Hotline
  • 703-527-4077: DC-Metro Area
  • Virginia Suicide Hotlines Listing Link

You can read about it directly from state and federal sources. Here are the links:

In Connecticut, Maryland & Virginia:

Department of Health and Human Services:

Keep in mind, what’s written on this website is for general informational purposes only. The content on this page is not meant to replace the information found on State websites of Connecticut, Maryland, Virginia and Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Consequently the information on this page may not be complete.  It's also not meant to replace medical or psychological advice or treatment.  For that you'll need to seek services by contacting and meeting with a licensed professional. See the disclaimers here and here.

Remember that if you decide to enter into counseling and therapy, you will be given detailed information concerning the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule and the topic of confidentiality will be discussed between you and your counselor and/or psychotherapist. 

Folder with word HIPAA law & you

In brief, the exceptions to your confidential information are:

  • when a client in writing asks their counselor and/or psychotherapist to share information from a session or sessions with others.  When a client requests this, a release form is signed by the client authorizing communications between the counselor and the person with whom the client wants the counselor to speak with.
  • when a client shares information with their counselor that there is a threat to harm themselves.
  • when a client shares information that there is a threat to harm another person whether that be an adult, child, elder or vulnerable person.
  • when a court of law orders it.
  • when you, as a client, share your own therapy information to a medical provider in a medical emergency.
  • when a client is involved in research, audit or an evaluation of a program.

There’s so much more information about this topic. This page of basic info is not meant to be comprehensive and as a result may be incomplete. 

It is important for you to know your rights as a client and/or patient when it comes to your health and your health information.  Knowledge is vital and empowering. Kindly read this information directly from the State website of Connecticut, Maryland and Virginia as well as the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) for the most up-to-date information.  There you’ll find resources and detailed info to help you understand your rights as a client and/or patient.

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Lucrezia Mangione is in private practice. She is a board certified licensed professional counselor, board certified telemental health provider, neurofeedback trainer, counselor supervisor, educator, and nurse wellness education consultant. View her profile.