Confidentiality is of prime importance to Counseling Services, through which we provide the students with a safe and protected environment, an atmosphere of support and empathy where they can share their concerns. All personal information and content of the sessions are not accessible to anyone, thus being strictly confidential. At the first counseling session, students above the age of 18 will be presented with the confidentiality procedures and will sign an informed consent form before the session starts, which signifies that the student is ready to be engaged in the counseling process. The Counselor will make all the necessary attempts to ensure that the student fully understands the confidentiality principles along with the exceptions. In the case of students below the age of 18, the informed consent form will be signed by a parent or other guardian. In case a student under 18 years approaches Counseling Services with a sensitive issue such as sexual orientation, pregnancy, drug use and does not want their parent(s) or guardian(s) to know about his/her engagement with Counseling Services, then the student may sign the consent form. This measure is taken for providing students with a safe, protective environment to talk.
Though the counseling process is highly confidential, there are a number of exceptional cases which oblige the Counselor to report/release the information provided during the counseling without the student’s permission:
1. If the Counselor assumes that the student might be of danger to himself/herself or others, the Counselor must release the information without the student’s consent. This will allow facilitating better safety both for the student and those potentially involved.
2. If the Counselor suspects child abuse (below 18 years old), including sexual abuse, physical abuse and neglect, the Counselor may release the information without the student’s consent. The Counselor is also obliged to report/release the suspected abuse of elderly and vulnerable adults.
The student may review his/her records of the counseling sessions, upon written request, which will become part of his/her counseling records. Yet a student’s counseling records and files are not educational records and are accessible only to the Counselor and the student. They are not shared with other units within AUA.
Prior to the release of information to a third party, the student must complete an Information Release Form. Counseling information cannot be released to the following without the student’s permission: parents or guardians, spouse, siblings, another therapist, GP or any other person/agency.