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#37259 - 01/24/03 09:09 PM How much is safe to tell your T ? ....Confidentiality
Chey-Wy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/01/02
Posts: 241
Loc: Cheyenne, WY
I will start this with an update on my case.

Wednesday my attorney got a letter from the law firm representing the church. In it they state:

"I would like to request that you provide me with full, complete, and legible copies of all records from any and all psychiatrist, pshchologist, counselors, etc., for and treatmeent Mr. ( My name) has received for problems related to this claim."

This is the first correspondence that we have had with any legal representative of the church. Carbon copies were sent to the Minister at the church and the church's insurance company, however, the insurance company has stated that they were NOT providing coverage for the church at the time of my S A.

What is my biggest concern is that recently there has been several post relating to an article in the Boston Globe. The Catholic church is requesting depositions from many of the T's involved in the Catholic church scandal.

http://www.boston.com/globe/spotlight/abuse/stories4/012203_letter.htm


Many of you have told me that once the case goes to trial .... everything in the case becomes public record. Every F***ing thing that I have ever told my T is public information. The fact that my mother used to beat the crap out of me will be public record. The fact that my mother was verbally abusive to me will be public record. How my parents found out I was gay. (Edited)

It will all be there for anyone to see. Future employers, my two other perps that are still alive, and probably worst of all ...... my mother.

No wonder so many of these cases have been droped. I used to feel safe telling my T things because of the patient-client relationship. I even wonder about attorney-client relationship. The church has also requested my medical records. Sure most of the stuff is routine ..... but (edited) . Again Public record.

I am not ready to give up my fight against the church YET .... but I am also having thoughts about whether it will be worth it in the end.

Thanks for listening ..... and I appreciate anyone's input on the subject .... especially any medical professionals.

I wish everyone the best

John

_________________________
From the Song MOUNTAINS by Lonestar.

Yeah, the good Lord gave us mountains,
So we could learn how to climb

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#37260 - 01/24/03 09:43 PM Re: How much is safe to tell your T ? ....Confidentiality
Mike Church Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 01/23/03
Posts: 3439
Loc: Toronto, Canada
John: I have been in a position of being terrifed that anyone I meet might become privy to my past, which was not the greatest. My greatest terror was that my wife and daughter would find out. I am 62 years old and have been married for 35.5 years and have a 22 year old daughter. I tried to go for a swim in Lake Ontario in March of last year after taking a whole lot of effexor and paxil. To make a long story short I decided to tell my wife daughter and family doctor the whole damn thing and to hell with the consequences. What happened was a whole lot of love from those that are closest to me.
I hope that you have someone that is very very close to you be it a friend or companion. If you do and they know it is not likely to change a relationship. For that matter would you really want to work for a company that took your background into consideration without seeking the reasons. I do not know what the law is in the US but I do know that there can be a privacy order granted in Canada that can protect the victim. To hide anything from your T will only hinder your recovery.
" A wise man once said. The only thing we have to fear is fear itself".
I consider it an honour to be able to correspond with you.
Mike Church, Mississauga, Canada

_________________________
Mikey

IT REALLY IS OK TO STUMBLE. NONE OF US ARE PERFECT.

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#37261 - 01/24/03 10:16 PM Re: How much is safe to tell your T ? ....Confidentiality
Richard Gartner, PhD Offline
Past President
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/20/00
Posts: 402
Loc: New York, NY, USA
John,

I have written somone who I believe has more information than I about what can be done in a situation like yours. I'll let you know what I hear.

Richard

_________________________
www.richardgartner.com

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#37262 - 01/26/03 03:16 AM Re: How much is safe to tell your T ? ....Confidentiality
Chey-Wy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/01/02
Posts: 241
Loc: Cheyenne, WY
Thanks for the responses. I did get one other response and that person advised me to make sure that when the case is closed to make sure that my attorney request that the record be sealed. I am going to discuss this all with My attorney on Monday.

wish you all the best,

John

_________________________
From the Song MOUNTAINS by Lonestar.

Yeah, the good Lord gave us mountains,
So we could learn how to climb

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#37263 - 01/26/03 12:26 PM Re: How much is safe to tell your T ? ....Confidentiality
The Dean Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 2080
Loc: Milwaukee, WI
Hi John,

I am sorry that you continue to have so much hassle. But it does seem like you are berginnig to be taken seriouly.

Wait for the help Richard is looking for.

I wonder if you might want to delete some of the info in your ppost since this is a very public forum and God knows who might come here looking for things. I am a little paranoid about that, but I think you mentioned somethings that no one would know unless you posted them here. WE ARE SAFE, and we love you and want to protect you--but I just wonder if someone else could come here looking for ammo in this case.

I have to believe that the only things that can be mentioned, if the records are suppoeaned are the things directly relating to the abuse, and that only in a summarized way--I can't believe any of it can be used really.

Take care John. Know that you have loadws of support here.

Bob

_________________________
If we do not live what we believe, then we will begin to believe what we live.

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#37264 - 01/26/03 06:15 PM Re: How much is safe to tell your T ? ....Confidentiality
orodo Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/15/02
Posts: 735
Loc: Imladris, The Safe Haven of Ar...
I know how you feel Chey. I spoke to my T about this on Friday last. She said she has an attorney, who represents several therapists under subpoena, who is very effective at having these requests for testimony or records squashed. She also said that she takes very VERY few notes. She said that in the unlikely event a subpoena request does get through, she might be "triggered" and "not remember very much". HEHEHEHEHEHEH. Speak with your T about your concerns, I did.

LYLAB

Orodo

_________________________
It is better to be Dragon Master than Dragon Slayer. Some Dragons are meant to be mastered, others meant to be slain. Odin, Great Spirit, God, grant me the wisdom to know the difference. "May the Valar guide and bless you on your path under the sky"

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#37265 - 01/27/03 12:55 AM Re: How much is safe to tell your T ? ....Confidentiality
Chey-Wy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/01/02
Posts: 241
Loc: Cheyenne, WY
Thanks guys. I really appreciate the suppport. My attorney did say that we have to provide the defense with the information. My attorney and his paralegal are going to go over everything. I also remember that when we sent out the original letter to the church he told me that he would not send out anything that I wasn't happy with ..... but that was the letter stating the facts of the case.

The paralegal did remind me about one T and group that I was involved in for a very short time. The group was out of town so I had a two hour drive to get to the group. I got a call on my cell phone from the current minister at the church ( Bob) on my cell phone while I was driving to the Group. I don't remember everything that was said but I do remember that when I got to group I was very upset about the phone call and shared the contets of the phone call with the group. I just hope that the T took good notes that night. I am pretty sure that in this pnone call Bob threatened me with a slander lawsuit when I told him I was no longer ashamed and that I was ready to tell my story.

I think that I am ready. The more I talk about what that Bastard did to me the better I feel. One thing that is comforting me too is that when I did the post on forgiveness one of the replies stated
Quote:
Expose anything dark to the light, for whatever is exposed to the light becomes light. (Effusions 4:11-13).

Don't let Satan shame you into staying quiet. Thanks for being bold. Tell The Lord how you feel. He already knows anyway.
Several of my good friends have told me to pray about this. It has been very troubling to me whether I have made the right decision. I found the above quote in a reply to a letter I had written to a friend. I think that God and Jesus are troubled about what has happened in the "name of religion". The men that did this to us were not men of God. They need to be exposed to the light.

Yes I am concerned what is going to happen .... but I am at peace tonight that I have done the right thing. I think that God will keep the information that the defence attorney is requesting "protected".

I'll keep everyone posted.

John

_________________________
From the Song MOUNTAINS by Lonestar.

Yeah, the good Lord gave us mountains,
So we could learn how to climb

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#37266 - 01/27/03 08:35 AM Re: How much is safe to tell your T ? ....Confidentiality
Richard Gartner, PhD Offline
Past President
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/20/00
Posts: 402
Loc: New York, NY, USA
Here are several sources of advice, written largely about suits against the Catholic Church (which may be different from your situation). Understand that I am posting these for informational purposes only. Neither I nor MaleSurvivor is in a position to evaluate whether these pertain to any specific situation or any specific jurisdiction. However, I do suggest that you or anyone else in your position discuss the issues raised with your attorney:

1. from a lawyer:
if the victims are claiming "emotional distress"/ psychological harm and pain and suffering at issue in lawsuits against  the Church, then the lawyers for the Church are entitled to discovery regarding that emotional harm.  It's a waiver of therapist-patient privilege to put one's "emotions" at issue; it's one of the joys of litigation.

there is a waiver - but it is not without limits nor should it be -

valid time and subject matter parameters should be crafted such that only therapeutic communications that truly bear on the nature of the litigation should be divulged -

for example - one may have had grief counseling twenty years earlier after the death of a pet - - this is not fair game - or - one might mention in therapy that one's mother had AIDS - this is not fair game -

the problem is - most plaintiff attorneys will not take the time to object to wholesale requests by the defense to turn over complete files, unredacted - including counseling files that date back to childhood - or include info related to other uninvolved private third-parties.

some plaintiff attorneys don't bother simply because it's cheaper and easier to turn everything over.  Simply put - plaintiff attorneys must cut into their profit margins to take the time and go to court and ask the judge to issue a narrow order- and ask the judge to conduct an in camera review of only certain files and redact wholly irrelevant information.

privacy rights for victims get "no respect" unless the plaintiff attorney demands it - and they should - as should plaintiffs' therapists - but most don't.

i usually teach people and mental health care providers to refuse to release records - even if the client wants the full file released - unless and until the plaintiff's attorney goes to court to obtain a narrow court order that involves in camera inspection as a prerequisite to disclousre of any material - even to the attorneys - and then, there MUST be a protective order issued that forbids all involved to disclose any information in the records to anyone for any purpose outside the needs of the litigation.

Also - - recent trends in the law show many courts willing to differentiate between claims where the essence of the injury is psychological harm - and claims where emotional distress is simply one of many counts in the complaint.


courts distinguish between what they call "garden variety" emotional distress claims - and claims that rise and fall on the psychological injury.

i am even seeing judges willing to deny defendants access to therapy records in sexual harassment cases - and appellate courts are upholding the decisions - on the theory that the essence of a sexual harassment lawsuit is the violation of ones civil rights - not the harm to one's psyche.

knowing about these cases will help to protect against gratuitous privacy violations -

It seems entirely appropriate to me that the LC speak out to some extent on the church cases and this issue  - at least to make the point that just because one is sexually abused does not mean anything and everything is fair game in all confidential records -

in fact - we should be up front and center explainign why it is important that that judges and plaintiff attorneys BOTHER to take the time to ensure that only truly relevant information is divulged.  we should make clear that careful attention to privacy rights in therapy will help to protect the integrity of the therapist/patient relationship - which helps people heal, encourages participation in the justice system, etc - - -

it also matters to plaintiffs that someone seems to care about the deeply personal and painful nature of the therapeutic experience -

we want victims to BOTH get better AND seek justice - and too often defense attorneys (in both civil and criminal cases) use the threat of gaining access to private counseling records as a tool of extortion to intimidate victims ("we will agree NOT to get your records if you agree to drop the charges, or take a bargain basement plea deal or accept some pittance of a settlement offer" - - no one is minding the store to prevent this misuse and exploitation of privacy rights).  At the very least, if people worked to limit access to only truly relevant information, the extortion strategy would
be less effective.

some of the comments on this list sound like people are saying - - -"tough luck - if you dare to sue your attacker, you lose your privacy - completely" - this is neither true nor just/

If i break my leg in an auto accident - i am probably obligated to share my confidential medical file REGARDING the broken leg - this is so the person I sue can assess and challenge the legitimacy of my injuries.

but no one would argue that i am ALSO obligated to reveal records of the time I broke my arm - or records that show how my sibling kicked me in the shin as a child - or medical records that show how i suffered other types of trauma many years earlier - EVEN THOUGH a defense attorney could argue that these other events MIGHT have some bearing on the case -

we put rational limits on the encroachments we allow when people suffer physical injuries - but we get anxious when the law tries to set limits on psychological injuries -
we shouldn't - - even though the nature of the harm doesn't lend itself to black and white line drawing -

in fact, given the extremely important nature of confidentialtiy in therapy, I'd say we should strive to have tougher, not looser standards, for mental health records.


2.. from an author of several books on priests and sexuality:

I have written a response to an inquiry from an attorney about the legitimacy of the church requesting a report from the therapist they supply (or pay for) to a victim. My opinion is that the church agency has NO RIGHT to any content information other than 1.) The patient is in treatment. 2.) The patient is utilizing therapy. 3.) There is a need for continued therapy.

Any other information is unethical and illegal because the diocese (order) is part of the offending agency. Because: it is like the wife beater, or the abuser of a child, requiring information from the therapist of members of his family because he is paying the bill. The diocese pays the bill because the abuser is in a special relationship to the offender and makes recompense in his place.

Richard

_________________________
www.richardgartner.com

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