These people include an ex friend who slept with my father, my “best friend” who I secretly hate and a few people who I think are general wastes of life. I don’t plan on acting on these thoughts but thinking about torturing and killing them actually makes their existence more tolerable to me… This is obviously not normal and I’d like to talk to someone about it but I don’t want to get locked up for nothing but thoughts. I just want to get them out…

A. Mental health professionals are legally obligated to protect potential victims from harm and to protect their clients from self-harm. Laws vary from state to state but generally it’s required that mental health professionals disclose information about clients who may become violent.

There is an important distinction between communicating a serious threat of physical violence against an identifiable victim and venting your anger. Most state laws are focused on clear and imminent danger to self or others as being the threshold for breaking confidentiality.

In the example you provided, you stated that you have no intention or plan to act on your violent thoughts. You are essentially venting your anger. In your case, a mental health professional would probably not be mandated to break confidentiality.

Homicidal thoughts are not as unusual as you would think, however, it is not a healthy state of mind. I would recommend that you consult a mental health professional who can assist you in regulating your very strong feelings. Emotional regulation is an important component of psychological health. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle