Therapy is most effective when you can be open and honest.
Most people feel safe discussing their private lives when they know that what they reveal will not leave their therapist's office.
Licensed/Registered Social Workers (like myself) are legally and ethically bound to keep their counselling sessions confidential and not share with anyone else what was talked about.
However, there are a few exceptions to this rule.
I am legally obligated to disclose otherwise private/confidential information, to ensure the safety of my clients and/or other persons, under the following circumstances:
1) I have reasonable grounds to believe that a client poses an imminent risk of serious harm to themselves (suicidal intentions, self-harming) or anyone else (threat of violence, homicidal intentions).
2) I have reasonable grounds to believe that a child (under age 16 in Ontario) is currently being abused/neglected, has been abused/neglected or is at risk of abuse/neglect as defined by law (which may be different from your own definition of abuse/neglect).
3) I have reasonable grounds to believe that an elderly or disabled person is being abused/neglected.
4) A client discloses acts of abuse by a health care professional.
5) A judge subpoenas me and my clinical records (a client's session notes) to appear in court.
6) A person performs a safety-sensitive job where being under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs could potentially harm themselves, other employees and/or the public.