In Connecticut, while there is little legislation that touches on the confidentiality of children and adolescent health information, the few laws that touch on this sensitive population are broad and widely applicable to cover a myriad of loopholes that might be used to breach the confidentiality of children and adolescent health information. Some of these laws and regulations include:
Connecticut Gen. Stat. §46b-56L: this statute touches on the ability of a noncustodial parent to be given access to the medical records of a minor. The statute states that a non-custodial parent still holds statutory rights to access the medical records of her/his child without an order from the superior court. Therefore, a therapist is allowed by the laws of Connecticut to sharehealth information of children and adolescent with a noncustodial parent unless the parental rights have been terminated by the superior court.
Connecticut. Gen. Stat. §20-7c: this statute touches on the rights of any patient to access his or her medical records. This statute gives a patient complete access to all his/her medical records with regards to his diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis. However, the statute seems to be silent on the rights of a minor to have access to his/her medical records, but by connotation, it appears to imply that minors can access their health information without parental consent.
Conn. Gen. Stat. §20-7d: this statute touches on the sharing of patient’s health information with other health providers. It states that no health facility can share the health records of patients, unless with a written request from the patients.
Conn. Gen. Stat. § 52-146c and Conn. Gen. Stat. § 52-146d handle the issue of privileged communication between psychologist and psychiatrist and patient. Both of these statutes safeguard patient information from being shared and assurepatients of confidentiality. They also direct the health care provider from sharing any identifiable communications or records which might reasonably identify a patient.
I understand that the issue of confidentiality can be difficult for some parents because they feel responsible for the child, are curious about what occurs in the playroom, or are overly involved in the child’s problem. I would assure the parents that they can trust that I will use my professional judgment in deciding what to tell them based on what is in the child and family’s best interest. This is consistent with the findings by Crane(2013) Further, informed by the laws and regulations governing the state of Connecticut, I would assure the parents that none of the information shared between me and the minor in our sessions would be shared with a third party. This would be unless directed by a court of law or the parent or guardian directs me to share the information. I would also assure them that my role and goal is to understand and respond effectively to the feelings the child is attempting to communicate through play therapy.
I would explain to the parent that the play therapy sessions are confidential. I would further go ahead and give the parents a general impression about the session such as play themes, behaviour characteristics of the child, or concerns about the child, but I will not offer specifics about what occurs in the playroom. On the other hand, I will ensure that the child feels that the time that he/she spends with me(the therapist) is private and that parents will not use whatever the child says or does against the child. This is consistent with APT guidelines as stated by Cochran, Nordling, & Cochran(2010).
Cochran, N. H., Nordling, W. J., & Cochran, J. L. (2010). Child-Centered Play Therapy: A Practical Guide to Developing Therapeutic Relationships with Children. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.
Crane, J. (2013). The Parents’ part in the Play Therapy Process. In G. L. Landreth, Innovations in Play Therapy (pp. 83-98). New York, NY: Routledge.
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