Many students are concerned about the confidentiality of meeting with a counsellor. The following guidelines provide information about the confidential nature of counselling services for students at Western.

Confidentiality Guidelines

Confidentiality includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • All contact information, including appointment times.
  • No information regarding the client's counselling appears in his/her academic file.
  • No one outside of the counselling office has access to any information about what was discussed in the counselling sessions, unless the client gives his/her signed permission for specific information to be shared.
  • The client may revoke his/her signed permission to release information by informing his/her counsellor within a reasonable time frame.

Counsellors are required by law and/or the College of Psychologists of Ontario to waive confidentiality under the following circumstances:

  • The client is at imminent risk of harming him/herself or others.
  • There is a reasonable suspicion of emotional and/or physical neglect of a minor or a reasonable suspicion of emotional, physical, or sexual abuse of a minor.
  • The client reports having been sexually abused by a regulated health professional and provides the counsellor with the name of that professional.
  • There is a court subpoena for the counselling records (e.g. in criminal court cases; in contentious child custody cases).

Formal Statement of Confidentiality

"We respect the concerns that you may have about the privacy of the material that you share with your counsellor. This information will be held in strictest confidence and no one within the University, outside the Centre for Student Development and Counselling, has access to information about you. Nothing will be released to third parties without your signed consent, except where required by law. In rare instances courts may subpoena counselling records. Counsellors are also required to report clearly imminent dangers to self and others. Counsellors are required to report the following concerns regarding children: (1) a reasonable suspicion of emotional and/or physical neglect of a minor, and/or (2) a reasonable suspicion of emotional, physical or sexual abuse of a minor. Psychologists are required to report sexual abuse by another regulated health professional if this information is acquired within the context of their work. It is the policy of our Centre that all counsellors who provide personal counselling will discuss concerns of this nature with the Clinical Coordinator, who, as a psychologist, will be obliged to report the matter to the appropriate regulatory body. In cases requiring crisis intervention, counsellors may adopt a team approach to help ensure the provision of the highest quality care."

Rights and Responsibilities of Clients

You have the right to:

  • be treated with respect and consideration;
  • know that information you share during the counselling process will be confidential;
  • discuss with your counsellor any concerns or dissatisfactions you may have about your counselling experience;
  • refuse to complete any forms requested during the counselling process;
  • ask for a different counsellor if you are not satisfied with your present one.

You are responsible for:

  • treating Counselling staff with respect and consideration;
  • maintaining the confidentiality of others in group counselling sessions;
  • being honest and direct about your counselling experience. Tell your counsellor how you feel about what you're experiencing.
  • keeping appointments. If you can't keep an appointment, PLEASE NOTIFY US AT LEAST 24 HOURS IN ADVANCE. This allows us to schedule other persons.
  • letting us know about any grievance you may have with our service without undue delay.