Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) follows a strict policy of confidentiality between itself and the client. No information regarding the experience can be released from CAPS without the client’s written permission. The fact that you are seeing a CAPS therapist does not appear on any academic records. Please note, however, that in a professional counseling agency, confidentiality means therapists may consult with each other regarding any of their clients.

Exceptions to the Confidentiality Policy

Your right to confidentiality is protected by law. However, there are certain circumstances regarding life-threatening situations in which confidentiality may not be protected. These situations are:

  • reasonable suspicion of child abuse or situations in which a child is at risk of being abused (a child is any person under 18 years old);
  • reasonable suspicion of abuse of individuals who are gravely disabled and unable to care for themselves;
  • reasonable suspicion of abuse of elders (ages 65 or older);
  • serious intent to harm self; and
  • serious intent to harm another person.

In such cases CAPS staff may be legally required to report to other outside agencies (where appropriate) the minimal necessary information obtained during any CAPS counseling visit. Except in these situations, information communicated to CAPS cannot be released without a student’s permission.

If you would like further information on this subject, your CAPS staff member will be glad to provide it for you.

Child Abuse

California law defines child abuse as any of the following:

  • A child is physically injured by other than accidental means.
  • A child is subjected to willful cruelty or unjustifiable punishment.
  • A child is abused or exploited sexually.
  • A child is neglected by a parent or caretaker who fails to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care, or supervision.

Elder or Dependent Adult Abuse

Abuse of an elder or a dependent adult is abuse of:

  • someone 65 years old or older; or
  • a dependent adult, who is someone between 18 and 64 that has certain mental or physical disabilities that keep him or her from being able to do normal activities or protect himself or herself.

The law says elder or dependent adult abuse is:

  • physical abuse, neglect, financial abuse, abandonment, isolation, abduction (taking the person out of the state against his or her will), or other behavior that causes physical harm, pain, or mental suffering; OR
  • deprivation by a caregiver of things or services that the elder or dependent adult needs to avoid physical harm or mental suffering.