The importance of confidentiality in therapy cannot be overstated. This implies that, under normal circumstances, no information — not even the fact that you have visited the Counseling Center — will be shared with anybody outside of the Counseling Center without your prior written agreement.
However, confidentiality in therapy encompasses not just the substance of therapy but also the fact that a client is in treatment. Because client privacy is important, a therapist may choose not to acknowledge a client when the therapist happens to run into him or her outside of treatment sessions.
Patients and clients should feel secure and comfortable discussing anything they want, without having to worry about their information being leaked out. However, confidentiality in therapy encompasses not just the substance of therapy but also the fact that a client is in treatment.
Confidentiality allows individuals to restrict access to information about themselves, whereas privacy allows individuals to manage access to information about themselves that they have shared with others, therefore facilitating the building of client confidence in the counselor (McLeod, 2004).
Although there is a constraint of secrecy, it is important that the client is made aware of it. A client who has suicide thoughts or intent will have procedures in place that the therapist will adhere to in terms of when and how sensitive information will be disclosed.