This notice describes how counseling information about you may be used and disclosed
and how you can get access to this information.
Please review it carefully.
Counseling Services and its professional staff, employees, and trainees follow the
privacy and confidentiality practices described in this Notice. Career & Counseling
Services keeps your counseling information in records that will be maintained and
protected in a confidential manner, as required by law.
Who has access to your Counseling Record?
In order to provide you with the best possible services, all professional staff of
Counseling Services involved in your treatment and employees involved in the counseling
operations of the agency may have access to your records. Information may be shared
among different service providers who are involved in your treatment. For example,
if you are seeing both a psychiatrist and counselor, or a personal counselor and a
career counselor, they may share information in the process of coordinating your care.
Counseling records may be reviewed as part of an on-going process directed toward
assuring the quality of agency operations.
What is included in a Counseling Record, and how long is it kept?
Your counseling record may include any or all of the following information:
- Intake forms and other documents you fill out
- Your counselor’s recording of the concerns and symptoms you describe, and the information
provided about your personal history
- Counseling goals and treatment plan
- Records of counseling contacts and sessions, including topics discussed, counseling
approach utilized, counselor observations, progress toward goals, and any risks that
need to be addressed
- Psychological testing data and results
- Psychiatric evaluation, treatment, and follow-up information
- Documents you provide to us that we keep
- Treatment records forwarded to us by other service providers
Your counseling record does not include any subjective psychotherapy notes or electronic recordings used by your
counselor to prepare the record or to note significant content or process from session
Your counseling record will be retained by Counseling Services for approximately ten
years after your last clinical contact with the agency. After that time has elapsed,
the record will be destroyed in a way that protects your privacy.
Under what circumstances might my confidential counseling information be disclosed?
Your records may be used for the following purposes:
- Appointment reminders (unless you request otherwise in writing)
- Notification when an appointment is cancelled or rescheduled by Counseling Services
(unless you request otherwise in writing)
- Reporting of child or elder abuse or neglect (as required by law)
- Mental health oversight activities (e.g., audits, inspections or investigations of
administration and management of Counseling Services)
- Lawsuits and disputes (We will attempt to provide you notice of any subpoena we receive
before disclosing information from your record.)
- Law enforcement (e.g., in response to a court order or other legal process) to identify
or locate an individual being sought by authorities; about victim of a crime under
restricted circumstances; about a death that may be the result of criminal conduct;
about criminal conduct that occurred in Counseling Services; when emergency circumstances
occur relating to a crime
- To prevent a serious threat to the health or safety of yourself or any other person
(such disclosure may be to medical personnel, law enforcement personnel, university
personnel, or to family or other appropriate individuals in order to protect you or
- To military command authorities if you are a member of the armed forces or a member
of a foreign military authority
- National security and intelligence activities
- Protection of the President or other authorized persons for foreign heads of state,
or to conduct special investigations
- As may otherwise be required by law
- Alcohol and drug abuse information has special privacy protections. Counseling Services
will not disclose any information identifying an individual as being a client or provide
any mental health or medical information relating to a client¹s substance abuse treatment
- the client consents in writing;
- a court order requires disclosure of the information;
- medical personnel need the information to meet a medical emergency;
- qualified personnel use the information for the purpose of conducting research, management
audits, or program evaluation; or
- it is necessary to report a crime or a threat to commit a crime or to report abuse
or neglect as required by law.
Your authorization is required for other disclosures.
Except as described previously, we will not use or disclose information from your
record unless you authorize in writing Counseling Services to do so. You may revoke
your permission, which will be effective only after the date of your written revocation.
You have rights regarding your protected counseling information.
You have the following rights regarding your counseling information, provided that
you make a written request to invoke the right on the form provided by Counseling
- Right to request restriction.
You may request limitations on your mental health information we may disclose, but
we are not required to agree to your request. If we agree, we will comply with your
request unless the information is needed to provide you with emergency treatment.
- Right to confidential communications.
You may request communications in a certain form or at a certain location (e.g.,
only at home), but you must specify in writing how or where you wish to be contacted.
- Right to inspect and copy information.
You have the right to request to inspect and copy your counseling record; however,
psychotherapy notes may not be inspected and copied. We may charge a fee for copying,
mailing, and supplies. Under limited circumstances, your request may be denied. In
that case, you may request review of the denial by another licensed mental health
professional chosen by Counseling Services. Career & Counseling Services will comply
with the outcome of the review.
- Right to request that your record be amended.
If you believe that the information we have about you is incorrect or incomplete
you may ask us to add clarifying information. We will provide a form for that purpose.
Counseling Services is not required to agree to the requested amendment.
- Right to accounting of disclosures.
You may request a list of the disclosures of your counseling information that have
been made to persons or entities other than for treatment or health care operations
in the last six (6) years. Such information may not be available for disclosures prior
to April 14, 2003.
- Right to a copy of this Notice.
You may request a copy of this Notice at any time.
Changes in Policy
Counseling Services may change its policies or procedures in regard to privacy practices.
If and when changes occur, the changes will be effective for information we already
have about you as well as any information we receive in the future. Any time you come
in to Counseling Services for an appointment, you may ask for and receive a copy of
the Privacy Notice that is in effect at the time.
Complaints and Questions
If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with
Counseling Services, or with the office of the Associate Vice President for Student
Affairs. You will not be penalized or retaliated against in any way for making a complaint.
Call Counseling Services and ask to speak to the Associate Director for Counseling
- You have a complaint.
- You have any questions about this notice.
- You wish to request restrictions on uses and disclosure of counseling information.
- You wish to obtain any of the forms mentioned to exercise your individual rights described
Cynthia A. Cook, Ph.D.
Executive Director of Counseling, Health and Career Services
University of Houston-Clear Lake
2700 Bay Area Blvd.
Houston, TX 77058-1098
Darlene Biggers, Ph.D.
Associate Vice President for Student Services
University of Houston-Clear Lake
2700 Bay Area Blvd.
Houston, TX 77058-1098