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Your Privacy

At Stemm Psychology, we are committed to protecting your privacy both online, and in our clinic. Below is a list of a few common questions about how we handle privacy within the clinic. You can also view our internet privacy policy which relates to your privacy when using this website. 

Your Privacy at Stemm Psychology

1. Will the content of our therapy sessions remain private? 

Yes. Your treatment with Dr Stemm is confidential and private. That means she will not disclose the information you provide to her to any third parties unless you consent for her to do so. It is important to note that there are limits to confidentiality in exceptional circumstances, Dr Stemm will discuss these circumstances with you in your first session, however, some of these circumstances are also outlined below in question 4.

2. What about communication with my other doctors?

At times, it may be useful for Dr Stemm to communicate with other doctors within your treatment team, however, your consent will always be sought prior to doing so. If you attend sessions under Medicare, Dr Stemm will be required to report back to your referring doctor via a brief letter after sessions 6 and 10. At the time of writing this letter, Dr Stemm will seek your permission to include relevant clinical information. You will have the right to request that particular information is not included in the letter, if the omission is not likely to impact your medical care. 

3. Who has access to my psychological file?

Only Dr Stemm will have access to your full psychological file. Any admin staff or other contractors will not have access to session notes. However, admin staff may be able to access letters, reports and appointment information as required. At times, if a third party such as Workcover, NDIS, or an Insurance company is funding your appointments, they may request access to your full psychological file. In most cases, Dr Stemm will not provide your file under these circumstances and will instead provide a summary report (with your consent). Please note, that in the exceptional circumstance that Dr Stemm receives a subpoena from court (e.g., if you are involved in any litigation), then it is likely that a copy of your file will need to be provided under this circumstance. 

4. What are the exceptional circumstances under which my privacy may not be maintained?

Under the Australian Psychological Society's code of ethics, Psychologists are obligated to break a clients' confidence if they have assessed there to be an immediate risk to the client, or immediate risk of harm to others. This may involve calling an ambulance, or notifying a family member/support person of the risk so that the immediate risk can be mitigated. As stated earlier, Psychologists are almost always required to comply with a subpoena from the courts for a clients' file, or if the Psychologist themselves is subpoenaed as a witness in court. Under some circumstances a subpoena may be challenged and thus the client's privacy maintained or partially maintained, however, this will not always be the case. In addition, an expression of immediate intent to commit a serious crime would require the psychologist to break a clients' confidence in the interests of protecting others. Finally,  recent changes to mandatory reporting laws require that Psychologists report any historical child abuse that is divulged within session to authorities, unless the client expresses that they wish this not to occur. In these cases, Dr Stemm will explain the process and the options to you to obtain consent prior to proceeding with any reports.  

5. How long will my file be kept?

Australian laws require that psychological files be kept for 7 years for clients over the age of 18. If the client is younger than 18 years old at the time of therapy, the file must be kept until the client is 25 years old. After these timeframes, files will be destroyed.

6. What format is my file kept in?

At Stemm Psychology, we are a paperless practice and thus all of your file notes are kept electronically. Each file is password protected, with these passwords being changed periodically.  Online security applications are kept up to date. Our practice management software stores your personal information (e.g., name, date of birth, address, medicare details) in a way that is consistent with applicable privacy laws in Australia. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us about this.

7. Can I access my file?

Yes, you do have the right to seek access to your psychological file under Australian privacy laws. Depending on the reason and implications for your request for access to the file, Dr Stemm may offer various formats in which the file can be accessed (e.g., verbally in session together versus a written copy), and any limitations to access would be made in a manner consistent with current Australian Privacy Laws.

8. What if I'm under 18?

Generally, your are still afforded the same rights to privacy however, if you are at risk or are likely to place others at risk, your caregiver may be informed of this. This will be discussed with you at the commencement of therapy, and a a privacy agreement will be made between yourself, Dr Stemm, and your caregiver to ensure informed consent. It is always Dr Stemm's priority to maintain your privacy and thus the therapeutic relationship where possible, whilst also maintaining client safety.

Whilst we have attempted to list here most of the exceptional circumstances that could affect your privacy, this should not be considered a complete list. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us at Dr Stemm will be more than happy to discuss any privacy concerns that you may have.

Working Together Towards Wellness

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