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videotaping therapy sessions?


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I've been thinking about going to the counseling center at my college to talk to someone. I've just been feeling really down lately (feel like maybe my anti-depressent isn't working as well anymore) and I don't know who else to talk to. But my friend just went there for the first time a couple of days ago, and now they want to pair her with a therapist who is just a grad student and inexperienced. And they are gonna videotape her so the grad student can show her supervisor. I would absolutely hate this!! Its like now everything is out there permanetly and other people could see it. Therapy is supposed to be private and just between you and your therapist! And I would never want to see someone so inexperienced. I think they are trained to deal with everyday college stress or relationship issues and whatnot... not something as involved and complicated as MI. I don't know what to do!

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It's illegal for them to do something like that without your written consent. If you don't want to give consent, you don't have to. *And* if you don't give consent, they will either refrain from videotaping or refer you to someone else. No one should be allowed to insist you be videotaped if you come there for help, and if they do you should be able to get them in big damn trouble with someone, although I'm not sure who right now.

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Yes, therapy is private and subject to the same HIPAA rules as any other medical treatment.

They can't tape your sessions without your approval.

Don't assume that you are going to get the same therapist, or that every therapist is taping his sessions. You might end up with the senior professor; who knows?

You should be comfortable and confident in whatever therapist you see. But I suggest being open minded. Wisdom and insight is not conferred by degree. Universities are dedicated to teaching and learning. Every PhD psychologist started as a first semester graduate student working in the counseling center. Every psychiatrist, as a third year med student taking the first oral history in the hospital. If they were never allowed to see patients, they would have only rote memorization on which to rely.

The tapes are not trophies used to regale colleagues. They are used for the professors to review and critique the counselors methods, and provide guidance in how to better help you. Even tdocs and pdocs long out of school have their own therapists to help them deal with the pressure of practice and to provide guidance in dealing with patients. The tapes are probably not kept more than a month or two before being erased.

So, don't let this deter you from getting help. You can discuss your concerns with the therapist, and I'm sure he will his best to allay your fears and accomodate you.

best, a.m.

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Videotaping sessions or having the supervisor sit in on a session are about the only ways to train therapists to be. They have to start working with people with real problems eventually, but they need to be supervised. I think I would prefer to have a supervising therapist in the room, but this probably multiplies the number of newbies she can oversee. And I suspect they need a signed release form for either one.

Tommy

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Thanks for the comments! You guys all gave me some things to think about. I think it will be worth it to make an appointment and see how it goes. If I feel uncomfortable, then I could always try to get home to see my regular tdoc. Thank you for the encouragement!

Micki

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I think your concerns are valid in that I know that under absolutely no circumstances would I ever agree to have taped therapy sessions. I do not want that permanent record and I really am just uncomfortable being recorded. In stores that have closed circuit monitoring I'm sure I look like a freak because I'm always looking for the camera or staring at myself in the little tv at 7-Eleven or whatever.

But they won't do it without your permission. So that's kind of a cross that bridge when you come to it thing. If you don't want to be taped (and they request it), they may be able to work around it or refer you to someone else, etc.

Additionally, I don't think grad students make bad therapists, and I've done my stints in student counseling. I mean, I definitely had BAD counseling center experiences, but I don't think that it's any more hit and miss than it is in the community.

So.... it's worth a shot, I think. I'm glad you've decided to make an appointment. ;)

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