Peter A. Zelles, a clinical psychologist in St. Paul, worries a new Minnesota medical records law could be "the end of psychotherapy as a useful treatment."
In a Star Tribune commentary, Zelles said Minnesota is one of the first two states to mandate a medical records system so all care providers can access your record. This would include any records kept from psychotherapy sessions.
From his commentary:
Perhaps no other form of medical treatment is more based on privacy and confidentiality than psychotherapy. Patients come to speak the unspeakable. Much like the sacrament of confession, psychotherapy relies on a closed door and a belief that what is spoken stays behind that door. It's why we don't practice psychotherapy in public settings. Once notes are posted, any suggestion that our treatment is private is untrue.
What do people tell us behind our closed doors? About the affair they are having, or had, or thought about having. About abuse and tremendous vulnerabilities that may be deeply shameful. Even with privacy, it takes time to build trust enough to speak what has never been spoken before -- the events that drive their symptoms, the anxiety and depression. For relief, patients expose themselves in tremendously vulnerable ways.
Zelles joined MPR News' Kerri Miller to talk about his privacy concerns and his proposed changes to the law.