May is Mental Health Month — and stigma is still our biggest problem. The legal profession has made promising progress — but uncompromising confidentiality is always critical for individuals to find comfort in treatment. Here’s more on our record-keeping and confidentiality.
Our organization has been answering questions about lawyer well-being since 1978. In our Q+A blog post series, we’ll be featuring answers to recent, recurrent, and other important questions we’ve received via our website’s Anonymous Q+A feature.
If someone sees a therapist through your support groups does it get put into a medical record?
There are a few composite questions in your question, so let’s sort them out.
LCL runs a number of groups.
- Our Addiction Recovery Peer Support group meetings are peer-run meetings and are not attended by our clinical staff. These are open to any lawyer or law student and are held at our office on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 1 pm, with other meetings across Massachusetts listed here. These meetings are run in the 12-step tradition, and no records are kept on those in attendance.
- Staff members facilitate our other support groups listed here, typically keeping attendance records. Feel free to inquire with group leader listed about the process for any group, and how we can accommodate any concerns you might have.
If you arrange for an individual clinical evaluation with one of the LCL clinicians, we do keep records, which are never disclosed outside LCL, except (1) if you want the records disclosed and provide written consent, or (2) if there were to be an issue of physical danger to you or someone else, which would include cases of learning of ongoing abuse of a child, elder, or disabled person. Some lawyers who are especially worried about these things register with us under a pseudonym. If we refer you to an outside licensed mental health provider after a clinical evaluation, they are also required to keep records — but, like us, would be prohibited from disclosing those records without your written permission except in cases of danger.
Both the confidentiality and the record-keeping are there with your interests in mind.