Confidentiality between therapists and minors, where is the line drawn?

Baggy Bags

Active Member
I have been complaining for months about how little my son's psychiatrist reveals about their sessions. I understand the importance (and obligation) of confidentiality to a point, but how far does it go? If the doctor finds out really important things that happened to my son, that I don't know about, shouldn't he tell me? I'm talking about things like abuse, sexual identity (when it's a problem), homicidal thoughts, crimes...


Well-Known Member
In the U.S. I found they told me very little even when my daughter was sixteen. They said they didnt want to violate her trust !


Well-Known Member
I think by law they can break confidentiality if the person is a danger to themselves or others. So I think if there was homicidal or suicidal thoughts they should and would tell you.


Well-Known Member
I know that legally they are mandatory reporters so if they feel they are in danger or if they are a danger to others they have to report to the authorities. I am not sure if they have to report to parents above a certain age which may vary. It is 14 where i live then the "child" is given a choice.


Active Member
DS' and YS' therapists have always been very tight lipped about what they shared with us. DS had a therapist several years ago who refused to disclose any information about his progress in treatment. That was the extreme.

YS' current therapist is more forthcoming and shares his goals in therapy along with general overviews of the issues he is bringing to the therapist.

Minors as young as 12 can legally instruct their therapists not to talk to their parents about progress and issues. Crazy, isn't it?


Well-Known Member
There is a page on the a.p.a. website (Amer. psychiatric. Assoc ) titled confidentiality and minors which is illustratve.

The gist is that in the USA the parent who has consented to treatment of the child, holds privilege and is legally entitled to know what is going on

The issue is that ethically and clinically, the therapist's interests (and often but not always the child's) are opposed to this.

Their preference is to help the adolescent hold and make a boundary and individuate from the parent. Right or wrong, I don't know.