Your rights

Confidentiality


One of the most important parts of a therapeutic relationship is trust. In a therapeutic relationship, you are entitled to your confidentiality – regardless of whether or not you are a minor. However, parents/guardians have the right to request their child’s medical records (e.g. diagnoses, symptoms,
treatment plans). Note that clinical records (notes taken by your counselor during or after a session) are completely confidential and cannot be accessed by parents/guardians without your permission or court order.


Please be aware that Nebraska law states that information can be disclosed, without your permission, in
order to protect you and/or the public under the following circumstances:

 

  • You are considered at immediate risk of harming yourself

  • You are considered at immediate risk of harming others

  • Previous or current child abuse

  • Abuse of elderly persons or persons with disabilities

  • Court order

Consent

 

Under Nebraska Law, individuals under the age of 18 cannot receive counseling services without
permission of a parent or a legal guardian except under specified circumstances. Counselors will require individuals under the age of 18, along with a parent or legal guardian, to complete a consent form.

Telehealth

Given the current circumstances surrounding COVID-19, counselors may be able to provide a telehealth option for counseling sessions. Telehealth allows counselors to provide wellness services for their clients via live video conferencing. 

Your counselor will provide you with more information regarding telehealth.  Please note that some counseling services cannot guarantee the same amount of confidentiality while using telehealth.

Discussing Confidentiality

One of a therapist’s most important ethical duties when treating minors is to discuss confidentiality concerns with the parent(s) and the child. The therapist should be clear about the law and their own confidentiality policies. Some important topics to discuss include: 

  • The therapist's disclosure policies. Some therapists require parents to consent to a certain level of confidentiality, even when a state or federal law affords the child fewer confidentiality rights. 

  • The circumstances under which a therapist would disclose information the child shared in therapy. 

  • The importance of confidentiality in therapy. When parents understand that confidentiality is key to effective treatment, they may be more willing to respect their child’s need for privacy. 

  • The steps the therapist takes to protect the child’s privacy. In most cases, a therapist will provide the child and their parents with a HIPAA disclosure statement that offers details about how and when treatment information may be disclosed to others. 

  • The benefits of open communication between a parent and child. Many children do not discuss challenging topics with their parents because they fear judgment or punishment. When parents understand the importance of open communication, they may be less likely to overreact. This can encourage better parent-child relationships. 

This site was conceived by graduate students at the University of Nebraska at Omaha within the Graduate Counseling Department, with the assistance of Yasmin Tucker and Michele Yates, to provide a helpful tool to support the Black youth of Omaha.

© 2023 by The Voice Project Omaha