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Old 13-08-2007, 10:07 AM   #1
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Triggering (SI) - Mandatory reporting of self harm

So I went to see a counsellor at uni for the first time today. It was a bit awkward, but otherwise it went okay. I didn't end up saying anything about my SI because she said anything to do with attempted suicides/self harm she had to report to the authorities and my family or something? I'm confused. If I tell her about my cutting will she have to tell my parents? I'm 19, and therefore not a minor. If anyone can help me with this, particularly with the laws in Australia regarding confidentiality and mandatory reporting, that would be great. Thanks.

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Old 13-08-2007, 10:11 AM   #2
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Well done for deciding to see a councellor, that was a good step.
I'm not sure about the laws in Australia, but in the UK I don't think they can tell your parents without your permission if you're not a minor.
Sorry I'm not very helpful, but there are a few people on here from Australia so hopefully they can come and give you some more advice.

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Old 13-08-2007, 10:46 AM   #3
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Yeah, in the UK they can't tell your parents anything unless they think you are a serious risk to your own or others lives. I know my friend, who's 18, was worried for ages because she could be deemed at risk, but in the end they decided not to tell anyone.

To Google!

Ok so according to this site (Click) you are safe from disclosure of your info unless harm is imminent:

From time to time release of confidential information could be critical in the public interest and is permitted by law.
  • Where imminent physical harm is involved. A student could be the aggressor or a potential victim. These situations could involve threatened or perceived self harm, including suicide."
I would personally take this to mean, if a session finishes and your counsellor thinks you're in a really bad mood and you're gonna go straight home and do something stupid, they're able to tell someone to protect you.

Now that's a specific Uni, but I can't imagine it varies much between Uni to Uni. Why not talk to someone who isn't your counsellor, a receptionist or something, and ask for a copy of their confidentiality policy. If there's anything you don't understand, talk to a tutor or something and ask them to go through it - ask them to go through the whole thing, not just the self harm bit, if that makes it easier.

Hope this helps a bit :)

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Old 13-08-2007, 11:25 AM   #4
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Its the same here, Dosnt matter what age your at, if your at risk they have to tell some one, same with docters there confadintul unless you at risk, SI,Abuse ect.
Just try and be as open as posble, do you rents already know about it if they do you cant be more open. But if you havnt i should say dont tell them youve done itjust talk about it in geral.
Sorry im not much help i used to be the same with miy counceler and ended up not telling her owt so dont go down that rute.

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Old 13-08-2007, 11:38 AM   #5
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Well I will check into this, I am currently in Australia studying at school for social work and from what I know self harm doesn't classify as a mandatory report and break of confidentiality especially considering you are over the age of sixteen. But I will check into this. The only way they would be obligated to say something would be if you said I am going to cut myself until I bleed to death, but other than that most counsellors recognize self harm as a coping mechanism for underlying issues.

While I check to put your ease at mind, perhaps ring the counselling services anonymously and just ask to speak with the a counsellor with regards to what the confidentiality policy is. Or perhaps read the website for the school's counselling services.

Hope this helps, pm me if you want to talk more about this.
take care of yourself and good on ya for going to a counselling service. you should be proud of yourself, we will figure this out.

be safe

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Old 13-08-2007, 11:44 AM   #6
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Thanks everyone for replying. Only one friend knows about my SI, and I don't really fancy my parents knowing. I'll give the counsellor's office a call tomorrow when I'm booking another appointment and see if I can get a copy of their confidentiality policy as it doesn't seem to be on the uni website.
I'm covered for 6 free sessions per semester so I'll see how things go.

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Old 13-08-2007, 11:52 AM   #7
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good for you for not backing down....i would suggest getting it sorted out for yourself, it's hard to be in counselling when you are hiding something, especially that big of something. take care

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Old 13-08-2007, 11:55 AM   #8
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Im in Aust, and at uni for psych, and as far as i know, SI isnt in mandatory reporting. Thats more for abuse and suicide i *think*. (please dont quote me on this). Ask her, and find out, but i dont think she is right.

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Old 14-08-2007, 01:14 AM   #9
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I'm in a hurry so I'm sorry but I haven't read all the replies. From my research as a psych student I think it is considered bad practice to divulge any of what happens in a session. The ONLY four exceptions allowed in the UK are

1. When ordered to by a court of law
2. If you know/suspect a crime has been committed
3. If you think the patient/others are physically at risk of harm
4. In your own counselling session.

Since 1,2, and 4 aren't really a problem, it would only be 3 you may have a problem with. Speak to your councellor before you get too deep into a conversation and they should clarify their personal position, and keep you right.

Remember, that from the counsellors point of view, they will want to maintain your trust, as its vital to a healthy and productive working relationship.

Good luck

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Old 15-08-2007, 01:01 PM   #10
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Hi, I'm in Australia. The only reason that they are allowed to break confidentiality is if they think that you are at risk of harming yourself or someone else (SI is not usually counted).

It depends on the counsellor you are seeing, usually they will not want to do anything to jepordise your relationship, but if they feel that you are in immediate danger and you haven't been able to work out a solution between you they may feel like they have to tell someone to keep you safe.

Like smurf said, talk to them and ask them directly. I've found this to be the best approach.

Hope something in this was helpful I know I repeated a lot but since I'm an Aussie thought I would reply =]

take care xxx

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