A relationship of trust and confidentiality between a therapist and a patient is essential in developing effective treatment. The law protects the relationship between a client and a psychotherapist, and therapeutic information cannot be disclosed without written permission.
However, there are exceptions to client-patient confidentiality in the event that a threat or hazard arises. If there is suspicion of child abuse or dependent adult or elder abuse, the therapist is required by law to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately. If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to others, the therapist must notify the police and inform the intended victim. If a client intends to harm herself, the therapist will make every effort to enlist her cooperation and ensure her safety. However, if the patient refuses assistance and poses a continued danger to herself, the therapist may consider further measures as spelled out in mental health law in order to ensure her safety.