In many instances, family therapy will consist of both individual therapy sessions and group therapy sessions. Individual therapy sessions can give you one-on-one time with your family counselor to express your concerns about your family situation and work on methods to express your concerns to the rest of your family. During a one-on-one session with your counselor, you may end up sharing things that you would like
Standard Confidentiality Applies
Confidentiality is an important aspect of counseling. Knowing that your counselor will not discuss your personal situation with others allows you to talk freely and work through difficult issues. If you are going to family sessions or individual sessions, your counselor will generally follow standard confidentiality practices. However, if you threaten to harm someone, are currently being harmed by someone, or are at risk of harming yourself, your counselor will have to notify the proper authorities.
Individual Sessions Will Not Be Shared With the Group
Following standard confidentiality practices, a counselor will not share the information that you reveal during an individual session with the other members of your family. For example, if your teenage daughter is engaging in consensual, lawful sex and reveals that to your counselor during her individual counseling session, your counselor will not reveal that to the rest of the family members without your daughter's permission.
Your Counselor May Insist That You Make Certain Disclosures
A basic principle of family counseling is that family relationships contribute to problems and can help solve problems. For that reason, your counselor may encourage you to share information that you revealed during an individual counseling session with the other people in your family. However, this conversation will be held privately, and your family counselor will not elude to something that you are not ready to share during a family session.
At some point, your family counselor may decide that they are unable to help your family progress further if certain secrets are not revealed. This may include knowledge that one spouse had sex outside of the marriage or that a family member has a certain sexual orientation that they have not shared with the family. Usually, your counselor will encourage you to share this information and, if you refuse, may decide to stop therapy sessions.
Confidentiality is an important aspect to all types of therapy. Confidentiality in family counseling can sometimes be confusing, but it is important to understand it and know that your privacy is being respected.