Breaking the Silence: Are Your Secrets Safe at Hola Therapy?
Do you feel like living in Mexico is akin to small town life? Greater Mexico City has 22 million people. Yet I often feel more like a small country-town psychologist. The only-therapist-in-the-village feeling. This is far from true. Yet the English-speaking community in Mexico can be so connected that there’s often just one or two degrees of separation between us as clients and therapists.
A dual relationship occurs when the therapist and client have connections beyond their professional bond. This could range from sharing a common friend to bumping into each other at the same gym. Friends of friends or family members using the same service may also be considered dual relationships. Sometimes we're aware of these connections from the beginning. Other times, they come to light during the therapy process.
The closer the dual relationship brings us, the more complex the situation becomes. In big cities with thousands of options (in your native language) we can easily avoid them. However in smaller communities it’s not possible. Refusing therapy to someone who has limited other options brings about its own ethical considerations. Thankfully there’s a host of rural and remote psychologists that have already been through this and set out the best practice guidelines. For us ‘small town’ therapists (despite living in the sixth biggest metropolis in the world) it’s about managing the duality ethically and ensuring privacy and confidentiality is always upheld.
What is Privacy and Confidentiality?
People get the most out of therapy when they can share openly and honestly. Privacy primarily refers to each person’s right to only disclose what they want to disclose. While confidentiality is the therapist's duty to safeguard that information within the therapy room or share it only with relevant parties. In other words, you get to choose what to share and have 100% confidence that that information isn’t going to leak out.
The Mexican Context
Therapy in Mexico is in its infancy when it comes to licensing and regulation. No therapists in Mexico are regulated. In fact, psychologists and psychiatrists are the only professions eligible for a licence, or a “Cedula Profesional ''. That is, social workers, therapists, psychoanalysts, counsellors etc all have no formal licensure available to them. Even more importantly, the licence, Cedula Profesional, does not equate to regulation, meaning having a Cedula Profesional does not oblige that therapist to a code of ethics, or things like privacy and confidentiality. Some therapists voluntarily “opt-in” to these practices, but it’s not a big part of the training, isn’t a requirement, and breaches co
me with no repercussions.
How does it work at Hola Therapy?
Most of us maintain registration in a country outside of Mexico, which regulates our practices and enforces a code of ethics regardless of where we practise. For example, my Australian registration with the AHPRA (Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency) and APS (Australian Psychological Society) explicitly requires that regardless of what country I’m practising in, I remain under Australian standards.
At Hola Therapy, we're committed to maintaining the highest ethical standards, combining the best practices from our international codes. Privacy and confidentiality are paramount.
What is in Place to Protect my Confidentiality?
At Hola Therapy, we never disclose your information to other clients, friends, professionals, insurers, workplaces – literally anyone, without your explicit consent to do so. There are a few exceptions to this, such as if someone is at imminent risk and we need to call the police or an ambulance, but these situations are specific and limited. You can be sure that if any of your friends or loved ones also see a therapist at Hola Therapy, your confidentiality will be 100% maintained.
As part of our professional standards, each week we have peer supervision and training. Here we may share information about clients we’re working with and seek consultation from peers. This is called ‘peer supervision’ and in addition to clinical supervision and ongoing training, it is often required in other countries where therapists are under regulation.
During peer supervision, therapists may discuss their cases and seek consultation from colleagues, but this process respects your privacy. If there's a dual relationship involving two therapists working with individuals connected to each other, precautions are taken to prevent unintentional information sharing.
So, if someone I know also goes to Hola Therapy, what are the risks?
If we don’t know about the dual relationship then we can’t put our practices in place to ensure there’s no information sharing. So if your partner, best friend or someone else sees us – please let us know!
Referring to Hola Therapy
Please know that you can refer friends and family to us with total confidence that your privacy and confidentiality will be maintained. If you have any questions about this, don’t hesitate to reach out to your therapist or to admin and we can speak through the individual situation with you first.