Therapists should never reveal what their clients share in private sessions. But, therapists are humans, which means they don't always follow the professional rules they're supposed to abide by.
In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a man asked if he was wrong for going off on his son's therapist and threatening to report him after he outed his son. He wrote:
My son "Cordon" (15M) is a wrestler and struggles with being bipolar and bulimic. He's been in therapy since last year after me and his mom started getting a divorce and he wasn't taking it well. Things got so bad that he had to quit wrestling for a bit after his coach caught him throwing up in the bathroom. So far Cordon seemed to be doing better and is on meds that seem to work for him.
He even started wrestling again this year. His mom got engaged to the man she had an affair with last month and since then Cordon seems to be slipping again. I'm pretty sure I've heard him making himself sick and he's been in a bit of a funk after he quit talking to one of his teammates.
After one of his therapy appointments, I asked his therapist about my concerns and what I could do to help more if I felt cordon was sinking again. He kinda slyly told me and my ex that maybe he might be scared of coming out to us and he had a bad break up. Luckily Cordon was waiting out in the car and didn't hear that. I was furious not because my son is gay, but because he didn't get to tell me himself.
I cussed his therapist out on the spot and told him how unethical it was to tell me what he and Cordon had talked about and outing a teenager. I threatened to report after he kept saying he was trying to help us out. Later my ex tells me she thinks I overreacted and that maybe it would be a good thing to be in the know without Cordon knowing. AITA?
Licensed therapist here — that is wildly unethical and illegal and I would recommend reporting this breach of confidentiality.
Your state will have some sort of behavioral health board website and there is a link on there to report issues. You can also use this to look up their license number if you don’t already have it as that would be needed. NTA, your son’s therapist is a huge AH. He’s taken such a beautifully sacred conversation from your son, I am absolutely furious for him.
NTA. Your son's therapist should not have disclosed something that was told to him in a therapy session. How are you supposed to act surprised when your son finally tells you? How are you going to be able to refrain from trying to comfort him after a breakup that you aren't supposed to know about?! Do you really think your son won't figure out that his therapist breached his trust? Find him another therapist.
theassholethrowawa had a key question:
Info: So what happened next? Because I'm kinda of curious if after speaking to your son about what his therapist told you did he improve?
And OP responded:
We haven't really talked to Cordon about it yet. I don't want him to know that we know until he wants to tell us so I'm not sure how to go about it or about getting him a new therapist.
NTA. Report him. And talk to your son about if he would maybe like to try a new therapist - I’d present it to him as a thing that is normal to plateau with one therapist and need a new one who can meet where you are now.
It doesn’t matter that you are ok with him being gay, he had no way to know that. But never mind, Therapy works because of trust and this therapist just destroyed that. Please report him.
OverMlMs laid it out:
NTA - As a former therapist to children (6-18) we had the same rules as we would have with adults. Everything is confidential in session unless
1. you are planning to harm yourself 2. you are planning to harm others 3. someone is harming you or 4. (and this one is the one kids LOVE) they give the therapist permission to share with the parents. He has absolutely no right to do what he did and it is absolutely reportable.
EDITED to add: in the few instances when I had kids who wanted me to tell their parents something that we discussed in session, they were with me as well. I facilitated the beginning of the conversation and then acted as a guide to keep everyone focused on the topic if it got derailed.
OP is definitely NTA, and it's good he's so caring, because if he had been a homophobic parent this therapist's behavior could have put the kid in danger.