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Question
Posted by: Taz | 2007/08/01

Is this normal?

Hi

A friend of mine's brother in law had a very big operation (cancer related) He has a 12 year old son. The boy's mother is a alcoholic and doesn't stay with them. Last week the school insisted that the father takes the child to a pshycologist as they think the problems with the Mom and the operation on his Dad is getting to him. They even got a pshycologist to treat him for free and the school even takes him there. So yesterday when my friend went to pick him up, the pshycologist told the boy it's their secret what was said in the consultation. Is that normal? The boy is a minor, shouldn't the boy's father also be involved? This boy has a reputation of lying. The father is a bit worried what was said in that session. THe boy even told the school once that his father is using drugs and so on. The boy doesn't have any respect for his father. Because of the operation, my friend is very involved with this child as she is the one that takes him to school and so on. The boy and his father stay in a flat behind my friend's house...

Thank you so much for your time...

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

It is normal for any shrink to keep confidential whatever he learns within therapy sessions, with the sole exception that they are required to disclose appropriately if they learn that there is a real risk to the life of the person they're seeing or to someone else. Indeed, especially when one deals with adolescents, its unlikely that the kid would say much if he expected that whatever he said would be promptly relayed to the parent.
The father might check with the shrink whether this is indeed what was said, IF he has reason to believe that the boy is lying about this, but this is indeed supposed to be true. Maybe the boy told his dad this, both because it was true and so as to test out whether the shrink was telling the truth in promising him confidentiality.
If in the course of therapy the shrink considers that there are things whicht he father should be told, or ways in which the father should beneficially become involved, then this would be discussed with the boy and then, with the consent ot the boy, the father would be approached. If the father feels there is relevant information which the shrink should know, he can offer that info directly to the shrink, even in a note.
And remember, since the Children's Act recently came into force, even kids as young as 12 have stronger rights to privacy and to seek treatment without needing parental consent.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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