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Confidentiality with a Therapist

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Hi. I’ve been thinking about going to my school counselor after a friend recommended I go. I had asked my mum about a year ago if I could see a therapist but she finds it hard to believe anything is wrong with me. I am worried that if I talk to the counselor she might tell my teachers or parents. Since I’m in a boarding school, she might have to tell my teacher. I self-harm and am worried she might have to tell. My parents also take inappropriate substances. Even though they do this they are responsible. I’m worried because of the fact my parents do illegal things she may be forced to tell a child protection officer. My parents have never hurt me. I would never want anyone to take my parent away from me. So my question would be, since I am 15 years old how much confidentiality would I actually have? Thank you. (From England)

Confidentiality with a Therapist

Answered by on -


Negotiate with your counselor before you begin. Explain your concerns, and he or she can tell you what the boundaries are. Take your time with this. Write down all you are concerned about and set up an appointment to talk about the degree to which there is privacy. You can ask hypothetical questions rather than pose specific ones. Only in this way can you know what the boundaries are freedoms are for you in therapy.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

Confidentiality with a Therapist

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). Confidentiality with a Therapist. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 23, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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