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Question about Confidentiality

    • 3 posts
    January 14, 2017 8:48 PM PST

    Hello all! I have a quesiton about confidentiality. I live in NJ and I've started an Intuitive Touch/Alternative Healing practice through the modality of cuddling. I've mentioned to some of my clients that I'm an Ordained Minister and one asked if that means anything she tells me during our session is confidential. I've done some research on the topic and I'm confused. Is there anyone that can help answer this question?

    Thank you very much! I appreciate your time.


    Karen Schweiger

    • 32 posts
    January 15, 2017 3:13 PM PST
    Wouldn't you always keep the confidence of your therapy clients anyway? Is there a particular concern?
    • 3 posts
    January 15, 2017 7:40 PM PST

    Hello there! One of the most important promises I make to my clients is that what they tell me stays confidential. Confidentiality is important. I create a safe place for them and hold a sacred space for our sessions. Some don't talk much at all and some let go and share with me so very much (I am humbled by their trust and would never betray it). My question (which wasn't worded quite as well as it should have been) is that since I'm not a licensed therapist, I may not have the same client privilege afforded to same BUT I'd like to reassure them that in addition to my word, I have the added protection (if that's the right way to say it) of being an Ordained Minister.

    I had the feeling she wanted to tell me something deeply personal but was afraid if push came to shove (she hinted at a marriage issue) that I might not be able to keep that promise if called to Court. I'm assuming what we speak about here is confidential too.

    • 32 posts
    January 15, 2017 7:50 PM PST

    ah, i see. Well, if it is a matter of something legal, that is another issue indeed. I'm unsure of the legal protections as well. Sorry. Perhaps you could simply tell her your comfort level. For instance say, "Is it something others should know?" or "Please keep private things you would not want me to share in a court." or "No matter what I will keep your confidence." I can only recommend you be true to your own ethics and word. Best to you in determining the legal ramifications in your jurisdiction.

    This post was edited by Auntie Moira at January 21, 2017 1:27 PM PST
    • 3 posts
    January 16, 2017 7:36 PM PST

    Thank you very much! I appreciate your input and time.

    • 31 posts
    February 15, 2017 1:02 PM PST

    As a retired psychologist, I can you I had no grounds not to tell the judge or provide my records if subpoenaed. The Catholic Church is typically given the greatest latitude. There was a famous court case where the guards overheard a conversation with the prisoner saying very incriminating things. The Attorney claimed his friend was a minister. The friend never identified himself as a minister and guards reported there was no prayer and the judge ruled it was just conversation between friend and had no protection. This was 20 years ago; some options might be?

    1 Speak to an attorney in the state where you provide these services. Some may do an intimal visit without a fee. Maybe there is a lawyer talk show on the weekend in your area.

    2 Do a Hillary, stating you don’t recollect is a legal statement in the event someone finds a document or video they can’t come back on you.

    • 2 posts
    March 25, 2017 7:46 AM PDT

    To the best of my knowledge, if you are a legally ordained clergyperson you do not have to reveal anything told to you in confidence, but I would also suggest researching your state laws.

    • 37 posts
    April 4, 2017 6:16 AM PDT

    As a minister, you have the right under the Seal of Confessional. However it does have to be known as such between you and the "confessee" . More so there maybe some rule of law that may fall under mandated report laws. Check to see what or how such law applies. Rember this church's motto, DO that what is RIGHT.  Hey People even share in confidence with the Bartender, also. Yet there is no Seal of Protection there. Yet I've never heard of a Bar Keep breaking that "confidence". Mostly They just never actually listen.


    Again, you must make certain, you and the "client" know the distinction from Confessional, and just a conversation.  

    • 3 posts
    July 1, 2017 12:42 AM PDT

    It depends on what you are to them when they say something. In this group are you acting as a healer or a minister? If you are not acting as a minister at the time then the usual confidentiality does not apply. An example for you would be - a dentist is chatting with a patient while preparing to fill a tooth. The dentist mentions that he happens to be an ordained minister during this chat. The patient later confesses to doing something illegal to the dentist. Since the patient came to the dentist to get a tooth fixed and not for spiritual counseling the dentist does not have to keep the patient's confession confidential. Now if the patient had asked for spiritual counseling before making the confession, then the dentist would have to keep the confession confidential.


    Now if you are there as a healer, that has a different set of confidentiality rules. As a healer you don't have to keep anything they confess confidential unless it is directly related to their health. You can report them for tax evasion but can't say anything about infidelity or drug use.

    • 1 posts
    July 5, 2017 4:45 PM PDT

    When i first became a minister I paid for a package one document stated a supreme court case where that  a ULC minister couldn't repeat what they are told by someone who confides in them

  • September 16, 2017 3:14 PM PDT
    In Canada, the confidentiality discussions remain that way unless there is a crime that is imminent, or a suicidal tendency. Then you are expected to break confidence and report, in order to save lives
  • September 16, 2017 6:48 PM PDT

    One question you must ask yourself, Was this "conversation" held in confidence? Was this a conversation between a member of the church and Parishioner or was it a conversation conducted on Non-Church Time. If you are speaking to them as THEIR MINISTER, or as a business-Customer Relationship. Therefore, a Conversation held in confidence must remain confident.   

  • September 19, 2017 11:51 PM PDT
    Paul Moore, not sure what That Hillary comment was all about, This i a Christian Site and you went there. THE WORLD is in A Dangerous spot and, as a CANADIAN, I Would feel at ease if Hillary was There and so does the Rest of The sane world. The U.S. Is lead by a Non-Christian War mongering Thug. Are you proud That you have a maniac in a High School Battle with another MANIAC. I'm sorry but ANYONE WHO IS EAGER TO TALK NUCLEAR WAR AND THREATEN TO USE IT IS NO CHRISTIAN OR A FRIEND TO THE WORLD. I'M S CHRISTIAN AND TAKING ANY INNOCENT CIVILIANS LIVES IS UNACCEPTABLE.
  • April 21, 2018 1:30 PM PDT

     Dear  Heart, if I may ask .. are you getting paid for what you do? Do you have any type of document papers they and your self agree to and sign? In my state of VA. i'd definally have!  If you don't maybe it would be a good idea if you think about it. i sure would. many blessings, Loraina