Counseling Services

Counseling Services Records Policy


Request for Counseling Records

A client may request access to their Confidential Counseling Record at any time.  This request may be processed through the counselor of record, their designee, or the Counseling Services Office staff.


Confidentiality of Counseling Records

Counseling records are protected by state and federal confidentiality regulations as well as the ethical standards of the American Psychological Association and the American Counseling Association. Exceptions to confidentiality can occur only under certain circumstances. These exceptions include serious immediate threat to your life or welfare or to the life or welfare of another person, including child abuse or imminent danger to the community at large. No one outside the Center for Student Wellness staff may have access to your records and no one outside the Center for Student Wellness may be given information without your written consent. Access by medical personnel in the Center for Student Wellness is limited to those who have legitimate need to know.

Under Section 19-11-95 of the South Carolina Code, counseling records are available for your review with your therapist. This law outlines a protected relationship between licensed mental health professionals and clients. This privileged relationship means that clinicians may not reveal or be compelled by law to reveal any communication, observation, test result or other information gained as a result of the treatment relationship. Information conveyed to staff in Counseling Services by someone other than clients is not considered confidential and may be shared. Privileged communication between client and therapist may be waived by a judge in child custody or adoption cases, in law suits where mental condition is an important consideration, and in criminal law suits.


Counseling Records Storage and Maintenance

Although Counseling Services has transitioned to Electronic Health Records, some past Counseling Records are stored in paper format under double lock. In accordance with South Carolina state law, these paper Counseling Records are maintained for a period of at least five years after the last date that service was rendered to the client, unless otherwise required by law. After that time, charts are destroyed in a manner that assures their confidentiality.


External Requests for Client Records

When requests for records are received from insurance companies, military personnel, or security clearance personnel (e.g. FBI, CIA), we will only release a record to a licensed mental health professional, with written permission from the client. With written permission, we will release information that the student attended counseling and the number of sessions attended. We will not make recommendations on a client’s suitability for service or security clearance. When we see students as clients, we see them for treatment. We are not seeing them for assessment or evaluation to make decisions about their suitability for jobs. Such evaluations require different techniques and skills. We will require a direct contact with the client in addition to the written permission before verifying attendance to therapy.

Should a client wish for Counseling Services to release confidential Counseling Record information to anyone other than the client: Download and complete an Authorization for Disclosure of Protected Health Information form.  Complete sections 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, & 9.  Mail, fax, or return the form in person to The Center for Student Wellness.  The Center for Student Wellness may implement a reasonable charge for making copies of any clinical record or other document.  Charges will not exceed amounts authorized by Section 44-115-80 of the South Carolina Codes, The South Carolina Physician’s Patient Records Act.


Statements in this policy do not prohibit Counseling Services staff from releasing limited information to specified university personnel, community members, family members, or other identified individuals as requested in writing by a client. Such a request may assist in communication with a referral source, continuity of care, or in other matters that may facilitate the treatment of the client.