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  • Do Therapists Have To Report Drug Abuse?

    mental health treatment centers in Los Angeles

    One of the most effective ways of getting the best care possible from your therapist is to be completely open and honest. This way, your therapist will be able to see the entire picture and work with you to overcome your obstacles properly. If you leave out important pieces of information, you won’t be receiving the proper care for your situation. Often, one piece of information that can be scary to talk about to your therapist is your drug use. Keep reading to learn more about whether therapists have to report drug abuse and how to get the best help possible at mental health treatment centers in Los Angeles.

    Talking About Drug Use in Therapy

    Speaking with your therapist should be considered a “safe zone,” free of judgment and bias. Your therapist is only there to help you, and being totally honest is a crucial element of your care. But, what happens if you want to talk about illegal things, such as your drug use?

    Laws vary from state to state but, in California, talking about illegal drug use will remain confidential. Your therapist may encourage you to enroll in one of the many California rehab centers specializing in individualized care, such as Seasons in Malibu. However, they will not report you to the police unless it meets the criteria for a therapist to break confidentiality.

    Understanding Confidentiality

    According to the American Psychological Association, there are 16 reasons why a therapist can break confidentiality in California that can lead to getting help at a drug rehab in Los Angeles, California. As long as the conversation you are having with your therapist does not meet any of the below criteria, you should feel safe speaking to them about it.

    Reasons a therapist may break confidentiality in California include:

    1. You are a danger to yourself and threaten to harm yourself (e.g., suicidal).
    2. You threaten to harm another specific person (e.g., assault, kill).
    3. A member of your family informs your treating therapist that you seriously intend to harm another.
    4. You are seeking psychological services to enable someone to commit a crime or to avoid detection or apprehension yourself.
    5. You are being evaluated by a court-appointed psychologist.
    6. You are being evaluated to determine your sanity in a criminal proceeding.
    7. You are involved in a proceeding where your mental competence is at issue.
    8. You disclose something that your treating therapist is required to report (e.g., child abuse, child sexual assault, and elder abuse). In these cases, psychologists are required to telephone and file a written notification to the relevant public office, such as Child Protective Services. There is no choice in the matter of reporting.
    9. You are under 16 years old and are the victim of a crime.
    10. You are under 18 years old and your treating therapist reasonably suspects that you are a victim of child abuse.
    11. You are over 65 and your treating therapist believes that you are the victim of physical abuse. Also, psychologists may break confidentiality if you are over 65 and the victim of emotional abuse (but they are not required to do so).
    12. You die, and the information you had disclosed is known by your therapist or documented in your record is important to an issue between parties making claims through you (litigation).
    13. You die, and the information being released by your psychologist is important in
      Ascertaining your intent, or
      Deciding an issue, concerning a deed of conveyance, will, or other writing of yours affecting your interest in property (real estate claims).
    14. You file a lawsuit against your psychologist for breach of duty (e.g., incompetence) or your psychologist files a lawsuit against you.
    15. You have filed a lawsuit against anyone and are claiming mental or emotional damages as a part of the suit.
    16. You have waived your rights to privilege or give consent in writing to limited disclosure by your psychologist.

    Treatment at Seasons in Malibu, Drug Rehab in Los Angeles, California

    As stated above, speaking about illegal drug use is not included in the criteria of breaking confidentiality between a therapist and their clients. Mental health treatment centers in Los Angeles, such as Seasons in Malibu, are a safe space to talk about drug use. The only way to properly overcome drug use and the underlying factors that are driving you to use is to speak to your therapist about it. You should feel safe, supported, and comfortable with your therapist.

    Treatment at Seasons in Malibu is systemic, integrative, and client-centered. The pressure to “fix” the client can become overwhelming and unrealistic if we do not examine the underlying issues, dynamics, and environmental influences contributing to substance abuse or ongoing mental health issues. Whenever practical, we try to include close loved ones in sessions and in the entire process of recovering from addiction and/or addressing mental health issues.

    Our counselors are invested in your well-being and are ready around the clock to guide you or a trusted friend or family member through the initial steps of overcoming drug or alcohol addiction. With our superior team of clinicians, we can pinpoint areas of focus that will give the most advanced opportunity for success. Our approach towards healing is collaborative, comprehensive, and committed.

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