CONFIDENTIALITY – 守秘義務（しゅひぎむ）
I regard all that I learn about my clients as fundamentally the clients’ possession, not mine. This means that I will not respond to inquiries of any kind from any source when information is requested about my clients without explicit and clear permission from the client. Although there are some constraints (which I describe below) that prevent my absolute adherence to this policy, I remain as close to it as possible. The codes of ethics of my profession explicitly enjoin me to this policy. I will not divulge information about my clients, including information about whether they are or are not in therapy, whenever possible without their knowledge and consent.
While there are very strict confidentiality laws in other countries, there are no confidentiality laws in Japan. Therefore, it is possible, although highly unlikely, in a legal action that I as a psychotherapist could be required to divulge information about a client.
There are three (3) exceptions to strict confidentiality in Japan. The first is that I may occasionally consult with other professional psychologists and psychotherapists about a client. These psychologists/psychotherapists are under the same bond of confidentiality as I am, and their aid can be markedly helpful to the therapeutic work. When consulting with other psychologists/psychotherapists, identifying information is changed as much as is possible.
The second exception to strict confidentiality is in situations where the client is a severe danger to themselves or to other people. These are situations of imminent suicide or imminent harm to others, either as bodily harm or property damage, and not other situations in which a person may have these kinds of thoughts. In these immanent situations I may contact other involved people, such as a psychiatrist, family members, or the police, without the client’s permission and/or knowledge. The purpose is protection of the client and/or other involved people.
The third exception to strict confidentiality is that it is my policy not to keep secrets from members of a couple, family, or other group of clients when more than one person is in psychotherapy together. One of the foundations of successful psychotherapy is honesty. If people are engaging psychotherapy together, then anything that happens or is said to me at any time is information that may be conveyed to the other members who are participating in psychotherapy together. If I as psychotherapist judge that something that has been told to me outside of a multi-person session is relevant information to what is being discussed in the multi-person psychotherapy session, then I am not bound by confidentiality and am free to mention this information as I judge appropriate.
With these exceptions, I maintain the confidentiality that is important to my clients and our working together. If you wish information given to others (e.g. insurance carriers, physicians, etc.) this will be done only on your written authorization. Clients need to be aware that giving such authorization may constitute a waiver of their right of confidentiality so that others may secure that information from the insurance company.
The foreigner community in the Kansai area is surprisingly small. It is not uncommon to meet a client at a social gathering or public place or hear people making references to someone they know, who happens to be a client. At such times I as the therapist keep confidentiality to the extent of not even acknowledging the client unless the client acknowledges me. It is up to the client to determine what kind of, if any, contact they wish to have with me. I also will not divulge any confidential information in any social situation.
If you have any questions, please avail yourself of my readiness to discuss this important matter.
INFORMATION FOR CLIENTS
SESSIONS: Regular sessions are 55 minutes. Initial sessions are an extra 30 minutes.
FEES: Fees are on a sliding scale based on your income, with the lowest fee in Kyoto being ￥7000 and in Osaka being ￥8000. Initial sessions are an extra ￥3000 per session in Kyoto and an extra ￥4000 per session in Osaka; Couples and families an extra ￥3000 per session.
PAYMENT: Payments are to be made at the time of each session. If you need a receipt, please ask. Please bring correct change for payment.
INSURANCE: If you have foreign insurance, sometimes such insurance will pay for sessions. Usually the client needs to pay at the time of the session, I provide documentation, and the client is reimbursed by the insurance company at some time in the future.
CANCELLATIONS: If you need to cancel or re-schedule a scheduled appointment, please contact me at least 24 hours by cell phone or 36 hours by email in advance of the scheduled appointment. If you do not give me 24 hour notice by cell phone or 36 hours by email of any changes in appointments, except in cases of personal emergency or events that you cannot control, such as weather problems (called “Acts of God” in the U.S.), you will still be responsible for the fees, whether you attend the session or not. Please note that scheduling problems that arise for you are not considered sufficient cause to not be responsible for the payment of the session. Payment for missed appointments needs to be paid at the time of your next scheduled session.
TELEPHONE CALLS: For clients who are in ongoing therapy, if you need to reach me as your therapist in an emergency, call my mobile phone (given to clients at the first session) and I will get back to you as soon as possible. There is no charge for two (2) short calls, 5-10 minutes long, a week. However, if there is a need for more time than 10 minutes or more frequent telephone calls than twice a week, then either an extra session should be scheduled or the time on the telephone can be pro-rated according to the regular session fee.
MOBILE TELEPHONE: Please consider when trying to contact me by mobile phone that I may not be able to talk to you if I am in a place that is not suitable for a conversation with a client. For example, I may be in a public place where other people can hear my talking, or it may be a place where it is too noisy for me to hear clearly and easily. Therefore, please use the cell phone for contact and appointment details only. For confidential conversations, please first ask if I am in a private place and, if not, when to call when I will be able to talk confidentially.
BOOK BORROWING POLICY: I loan books to clients who want to read more about a particular issue. However, I require a ￥5000 deposit for each book borrowed. This money is returned when the book is returned. There are no exceptions to this policy. The purpose is to ensure the return of the book. I have lost many books in the past that have not been returned. Please return borrowed books within two (2) weeks. If you can’t return it in person, please return it by mail. Overdue books are charged ￥1000 per week overdue. I appreciate your cooperation in returning all borrowed books on time