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Ask TherapistMarryAnn Your Own Question
TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5839
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I would like to know if I have a right to files from my

Resolved Question:

I would like to know if I have a right to files from my mental health doctor. Doesn't this fall under the Freedom of information act?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 6 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.

You do have a right to see most of your mental health records. Depending on the state you live in, you do not have the right to see the therapist's own personal notes. But other than that restriction, you do have a right to see the other information at any time. You should already be an active participant in any goals or treatment plan you have in your case. If not, you can ask to be a part of the treatment plan.

What may occur when you ask is some resistance from the staff. Much of the information in mental health charts can be confusing and unless you are familiar with the technical language of the field, a lot of it may not make sense. The staff may require that someone stay with you while you review your chart to clarify any information. This prevents you from getting hurt by misinterpreting information and also allows you to ask for clarification. Mental health professionals are concerned that if you misinterpret something, it may cause a setback for you, or a mistrust of the treatment team you work with.

If you should have any problems assessing your file, talk with the patient advocate in you local community mental health facility. If you have trouble locating them, contact the United Way for assistance. You do have rights as a patient.

I hope this has helped you,

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