Subject: TBM's LDS therapist asks her if there's anything she DOESN'T WANT HIM TO SHARE WITH HER BISHOP!
Date: Feb 25, 2008
Author: Glass of Beer at Moessers
Note: The Mormon Church (LDS) offers some social services for its members. 
These professional counselors will divulge private information to the local Mormon leaders - typically the local Bishop.
TBM = True believing Mormon

A TBM friend is going through a divorce. She's had a lot of issues with her jerk of a TBM dominating husband. She's finally had enough is getting out. But she feels she needs to go to therapy to get some things straightened out in her head. She seeing an LDS therapist and today he asked her if there was anything she didn't want him to share with her bishop!

I was like WTF!? What about a doctor patient confidentiality!? Why does this guy feel he needs to be discussing her personal business with the bishop!? Granted she can say don't share anything... but why the hell does the friggin' doctor feel he needs to be consorting with the bishop about this stuff to begin with!? More bullshit Morg control!


Subject: She could share that she is finding a NEW therapist! n/t


Date: Feb 25 18:42
Author: SL Cabbie

Here's a one-liner for her:

>Would you put that in writing? I'm not sure I'm going to get enough out of my divorce settlement, and a lawsuit for this violation of Federal Confidentiality statutes would go a long way toward paying for my kids' college education. You do have good malpractice insurance, don't you?

You might even be able to win that one in Utah . . .


Subject: Re: TBM's LDS therapist asks her if there's anything she DOESN'T WANT HIM TO SHARE WITH HER BISHOP!
Date: Feb 25 18:50
Author: visitingteacherofchaos

If the woman went to LDS Family Services for her therapy and the ward is paying for it, the bishop will speak to the therapist to determine whether or not it is worth paying for more therapy for the woman.

The bishop's actual job is to make sure no one is draining the ward's resources. This is definitely allowed. It's not unusual.


Subject: Yes, but
Date: Feb 25 19:01
Author: 3X

are there _any_ guidelines for what may be shared?

Or have medical ethics been thrown out the window?

Subject: Its the same guidelines as non-morg therapists. If patient give permission to share info, its OK. nt

Subject: No, It's not allowed LDS or otherwise. n/t

Subject: Terminate Therapist visit immediately. Bad question. Implies follow-up with Bishop.

Subject: So, HIPAA doesn't apply to them??? n/t
Subject: Doctor who knows: can we spell "HIPPA violation"???
Date: Feb 25 19:31
Author: PtLoma

Wow. If the therapist is a state licensed professional, ALL discussions between therapist and patient are confidential. Any disclosure of the patient's information to an unauthorized (i.e., patient signs a release of information form, NOT someone "authorized" by LDS Church to blab to the bishop) is highly, highly illegal, and subject to major fines and disciplinary action.

I am an MD and chief of staff of my hospital. Trust me, when patient's clergy come to visit a patient in the hospital, I cannot tell any information to the clergy unless the patient allows it and such permission is carefully documented.


Subject: My mind screaming HIPAA!!! also.
Date: Feb 26 16:40
Author: Jenny

I'm a fundraiser at a large medical institution and familiar with HIPAA as well. And we take our HIPAA extremely seriously here as we're a state institution and on the radar a bit more than privates.

Anyway, I'm wondering if HIPAA applies to psychotherapy or too MSW counseling? It's not technically MDs doing the work so I'm not sure how far HIPAA extends.

And if it does extend into therapy, do the LDS folks make their patients sign something that authorizes release of information to a bishop? Can you even do that for a non-medical person?

We've signed releases to let our psychologist release info to our psychiatrist and vice versa, but what about bishops? They don't fall into a care loop of any sort.

But HIPAA is a patient-driven report system, and most patients are dreadfully underinformed on what it is. Also, most patients are usually never aware how information is being shared.


Subject: They "share" with the bishop.
Date: Feb 25 19:42
Author: Nightingale

This happened to me.

The ward was not paying - I paid. However, the LDS "counsellor" still informed me that he was obligated to consult with the bishop and let him know my issues and the plan for how to address them and anything else that went on in our session. IIRC, you have to fill out a form and that is even on there and you agree to it, feeling the same pressure as you do with everything else in the Mormon Church where you are expected to be obedient and there are few boundaries.

I was feeling very depressed and thought there was something really wrong with me because I couldn't fit in and shut up at church. I was not happy about the counsellor consulting with the bishop about me - it was very humilating to me and constrained my willingness to spill my guts in the session - but as Mormonism trains you to open up all your cupboards and let the bishop (and others) have a good nose round, I wasn't all that surprised that even a counselling session was open to the bishop.

On top of that, I didn't like the LDS therapist at all - insensitive, abrupt, dismissive, rude and no help. When I stated my issue (basically, not feeling happy in the church) he grunted, turned away from me and seemed really impatient and angry. It was that common Mormon reaction of taking everything you say as an "attack" and then responding in anger when you don't mean it like that at all. This is not a good atmosphere for me and really put me right off the guy. He then began to eat his meal during our session. I didn't really feel like he was focusing on our discussion at that point and all the damn paperwork and his crunching and munching decreased our session down to about 35 minutes. As I had driven for over an hour to get there, with the same travel time back home, I wasn't all that impressed and there was nothing given that was useful to grab onto in the interim until the next appt - more than a month away. That cost me $80.00. Sheesh.

It ultimately did help me though as I had been feeling so desperate and could hardly stand the wait until the appt and then to come away feeling **worse** all made me start to wonder why I was attending a church that was causing me to seek therapy. DUH. If you can flip that around until the question becomes not "What is wrong with me?" but rather "Is something wrong with the church/ward/bishop etc", you might get a needed AHA moment. So that led directly to me concluding that if NG was not depressed before Dunk Day but had been depressed ever since maybe NG should think again about attending a church that was apparently making her "mentally ill". I stopped going and voila, miracle cure! No more depression, guilt, anxiety, subservience or stupid unhelpful LDS counsellor for me!! :)

But yeah. I think, as we often discuss here, the boundary lines are so flexible, even to the point of disappearing altogether, it is generally accepted that whatever a church leader asks or wants they get, including a debrief with your shrink.

That is one aspect of the church that can be quite damaging - such stretched boundaries that for many members it becomes hard to tell what part of you they don't own. When can you say no? When *do* you go your own way? When is an action or inaction "disobedience" and when does such become excommunicatable? These are the questions that are perhaps just ghosts in our minds while we are focusing on being obedient, submissive, "good" members.

All I knew at the time was church hurts and it really isn't supposed to, ya know?


Subject: Wow! That treatment is so terrible. I'm sorry and happy...
Date: Feb 25 19:50
Author: brian-the-christ

...that you felt better immediately after leaving! Sounds like the best therapy!


Subject: Yeah. I wish I could tell everybody who's still in there and unhappy.
Date: Feb 25 19:57
Author: Nightingale

It's easier for converts though, in many ways. Family is likely to be happy rather than unhappy about you leaving and especially being outside of Utah, you can walk away and never bump into any aspect of Mormonism again, at least where I live. I have not seen a stake centre, chapel or temple since the 90s! I can drive all over town and never once bump into a Mormon missionary!

Other than RfM of course. hehe

Kinda reminds me of things and gets me ranting every once in a while. I was pretty irritated with that therapist. He did me a favour though eh?

They must have been as happy to see the back of me as I was to decide to just quit doing the thing that was hurting me as they never called or visited. Perversely, that actually hurt my feelings.

But then I got over it. :)


Subject: Hi, Cabbie... (cuss)
Date: Feb 25 19:49
Author: Adult of god

Oh Jesus! was my first response too!

I suspect that in the intake papers there is some authorization to release information to the client's bishop. This is not the first I have heard of this with LDS SS, but it still shocks me everytime!


Subject: It's standard policy with LDS theripists --the client signs a form that gives them permission
Date: Feb 25 20:03
Author: SusieQ#1

to share anything and everything with the bishop. This is a closed-loop religious therapy session. It does not follow standard practices of confidentiality. The confidentiality loop in Mormonism is huge.

Don't want your therapy known by everyone in the Ward? DO NOT GO TO AN LDS THERAPIST!


Subject: Re: TBM's LDS therapist asks her if there's anything she DOESN'T WANT HIM TO SHARE WITH HER BISHOP!
Date: Feb 25 20:43
Author: Rastacat

Yea. I remember going to the Bishop's Storehouse. It's a family services office. and I had to sign a waiver that nullifies Healer-patient confidentiality. and allowed the Bishop to know my dark secrets.... ..... ohhhhhhh big sins....


Subject: Maybe I'm just paranoid, but...
Date: Feb 26 10:09
Author: Deenie, the dreaded single adult

...if a "therapist," or anyone else, said that to me, I'd stop talking to them about anything more pertinent than the weather!

To me, that says, "I'm telling every word out of your mouth to your bishop..."

Even if I said, "No--don't tell the bishop ANYTHING!" I'd have a hard time believing that the therapist would comply, and would be unable to trust them further.

I guess we could say, "Well, at least he asked!"--but, to me, that'd be a huge red flag reading, "Get out of Dodge!"


Subject: I never mixed mental health care and religion!.....n/t
Subject: Unfortunately, I do, because I wouldn't need mental health care if it weren't for religion! :) n/t


Subject: our counselor asked us to sign a waiver
Date: Feb 26 12:53
Author: Duder

she said that it was our choice, but most couples signed a waiver so that she could share pertinent info with church authorities.


Subject: Re: our counselor asked us to sign a waiver
Date: Feb 26 13:16
Author: 3X

Well, I suspected that a waiver must be involved somehow (generically, that is).

Obviously, people in distress aren't necessarily thinking about the ramifications, but who would ever sanction disclosure of personal information to a _completely_ untrained functionary (aka 'bishop'), one typically ignorant of pastoral duty and responsibility, and one sometimes constitutionally unfit for the very position he holds?

It boggles the mind ...


Subject: Only in freakin' MormonDumb! After my excommunication, my LDS Social Services therapist...<adult>
Date: Feb 25 19:25
Author: brian-the-christ

...was convinced I had a porn and masturbation problem.

She was convinced that's why I had an affair. I said quite openly, "I really don't. I didn't know what masturbation was until I was on my mission and I never purchase porn."

Nonetheless, that is what she primarily wanted to talk about in our sessions.

When she tried to stick me with the bill -- after I had been told the Ward was going to pay for it -- I realized there was no help for the adulterer's son, paid her and never went back.


Subject: "Guilty of Masturbation...?" = Church doesn't pay.
Date: Feb 25 19:36
Author: dja

What a deal.

At least Father Guido Sarducci (SNL) only charged $.25 a throw in the "confessional booth". -

"$.25 cents only, Father Sarducci......?"

"....a .25, a .25, a can-a add-a up......."


Subject: Re: Only in freakin' MormonDumb! After my excommunication, my LDS Social Services therapist...<adult
Date: Feb 25 20:26
Author: Charley

Damn BTC you didn't discover masturbation until your mission? Talk about a misspent youth. I'm not sure I believe you on this one. Wow!

For me it was the highlight of my 6th grade year.


Subject: Isn't that tragic? But it's actually true, I'm ashamed to admit.
Date: Feb 25 20:48
Author: brian-the-christ

Talk about lying in bishop's interviews! I was constantly confessing to something I wasn't even doing!

Color me stupid!


Subject: my fear
Date: Feb 26 13:35
Author: Duder

I was concerned that the regular practice of LDS counselors was to share info with Bishops. Thus, the counselor might not properly flag the file to remind herself that she had no waiver in our case.


Subject: Re: TBM's LDS therapist asks her if there's anything she DOESN'T WANT HIM TO SHARE WITH HER BISHOP!
Date: Feb 26 13:00
Author: Laman and Lemon

I was asked if there was anything I didn't want shared with my Bishop. I said yes. That same night I was called into the bishop' office. He told me he had spoken with my counselor and that the counselor had told him there was something I didn't want shared with the Bishop. He demanded to know what it was that I was hiding.

F'ing cult.


Subject: This thread will be archived
Date: Feb 26 13:23
Author: Eric K

The lack of confidentiality in Mormonism is disturbing and should be broadcast widely, especially to those who are thinking of joining this crazy organization.


Subject: There are some things that are really sick, this is REALY sick...
Date: Feb 26 14:26
Author: Ether Seattle

We all know what it's like when we hear good "gossip". It's titillating, exciting and at the same time, very judgmental. Having been through countless hours of therapy do to my father's alcoholism, sexual abuse and homosexuality, I would be absolutely mortified if any one of my therapists shared/ratted specific details about immensely personal issues. The "trust" that is built with a therapist is probably the most important aspect of healing and rebuilding ones life. It's paramount in the therapy process.

I can't think of a slower way to heal that being talked about behind ones back. Talk about a shameful and sick system. They next thing you know they might start using shock therapy on gays...


Subject: I don't know enough swear words for this!
Date: Feb 26 16:15
Author: VOW

When you go to a doctor or a therapist, on the very first visit you are given a SHEAF of forms to fill out and sign. Who reads all that crap, anyway????

AND, when you go looking for HELP because you are SICK, either physically or emotionally, you don't examine everything closely! You are HURTING, who CARES?

PLEASE! TAKE SOMEONE TRUSTED WITH YOU when you go to the doctor's office! Have that person read over everything for you! And if you get one of those half-assed waivers, tell your friend or relative to take you by the hand and WALK OUT.

This is the worst kind of abuse, kicking someone who is so vulnerable!

Sheesh, when you are deep in the throes of depression, you are lucky to get your shoes on the right feet, let alone read some crappy form!

I am outraged to the MAX!



Subject: Re: Rule of thumb re: LDS therapists:
Date: Feb 26 17:30
Author: Hap E. Heretic

If you want confidential, unbiased treatment, steer clear of LDS therapists.

Although there are many great, well-meaning Mormon clinicians out there, the LDS mindset can be deeply ingrained, as we all know, and it greatly affects the counsel, attitudes, and ethics of many Mormon psychologists/social workers.

LDS Social Services IS NOT the place to go, and unfortunately, far too many Mormons seek care through that agency, which is totally under the auspices (and thumb) of COJCOLDS.

Many also seek treatment from their bishops, which is another HUGE mistake. Those men are not trained in counseling, and are not schooled in how to detect or treat mental illness or emotional disorders. They issue advice based mainly on the church handbook, and their own opinions, influenced, of course, by their church authority.

Therapists are expected to keep counseling sessions private and confidential. If a person is sharing this info with an outside source, they are in serious violation of ethics.


Subject: The only GOOD reason he might possibly have...
Date: Feb 26 18:09
Author: For the sake of argument

is if he thought the bishop should take your side and help you through the divorce. Don't they usually side with the priesthood husband?


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