Washington law states that — in most cases — anyone over the age of 13 must consent to counseling. In addition, most treatment related information is confidential and cannot be shared with anyone without the client’s permission. This includes parents or caregivers.
There are three notable exceptions to this law:
- The therapist believes there’s imminent danger the client will harm themself or another person.
- There’s evidence of child or elder abuse or neglect, where the client is either the target or the perpetrator.
- When directed by a court if the client is involved in civil litigation or criminal prosecution.
As of July 28, 2019, a new Washington state law permits parents or guardians to provide consent if a minor teen refuses mental health or substance abuse services.
These services must be deemed warranted by an appropriately credentialed provider. In most cases, services are limited to no more than 12 outpatient counseling sessions over no more than three months. At the end of this time, the teen must provide consent for further services.
When treatment has been initiated under this law, information necessary for treatment planning and crisis intervention can be disclosed without the teen’s authorization — assuming the provider deems it clinically appropriate to do so.
At this time, I’m not accepting clients under the Family-Initiated Treatment law.