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Confidentiality and privacy

The Student Counseling Service believes that student privacy is of utmost importance. All services are strictly confidential. We will not release information about a student — or even acknowledge whether a student is being seen — without the student's consent.

Although there are specific exceptions to confidentiality under Illinois law (such as if an individual presents a danger to themselves or others), such exceptions are rare.

Student Counseling Service Confidentiality Policy 

The law protects the privacy of all communications between clients and mental health professionals. In most situations treatment information can only be released with written permission from you. The SCS cannot release any information about your counseling to your parents (or anyone else) without your permission. There are certain limited exceptions to confidentiality, including:

  • If a client threatens to harm him/herself, the counselor may be obligated to seek hospitalization and/or to contact family members or others who can help provide protection.
  • If a client is involved in a court proceeding and a request is made for information concerning counseling, such information is protected by therapist/patient privilege unless there is a court order. If you are involved in or are contemplating litigation you should consult with your attorney to determine whether a court would be likely to order disclosure of information.
  • If a government agency is requesting the information for health oversight activities, we may be required to provide it for them.
  • Counselors are required by law to file a report if you state that you are abusing a child or dependent adult. Once such a report is filed, we may be required to provide additional information.
  • If a client threatens serious physical harm to an identifiable victim, the counselor may be required to disclose information in order to take protective action. These actions may include notifying the potential victim, contacting the police, or seeking hospitalization for the client.
  • If a client files a complaint or lawsuit against a counselor, the counselor has the right to disclose relevant information to defend him/herself.
  • Counseling Service records are kept separate from your general student file and are NOT accessible by any college employees except SCS staff. Our clinical staff do consult with each other on cases regularly; all counselors are bound to keep such consultations confidential.

In any of the above-mentioned situations, your counselor will make every effort to fully discuss it with you before taking any action, and limit disclosure to what is necessary.