By Anonymous - 06/11/2015 21:23 - Canada - Edmonton

Today, I asked my school counselor in strict confidence for advice on how to help a friend of mine, who has bulimia. When I got home, I found out that "someone" had called my parents and told them that I'm bulimic. They won't believe the truth. FML
I agree, your life sucks 24 698
You deserved it 1 649

Same thing different taste

Top comments

lexiieeex3 32

I hate how it's become such a cliche that if you go to someone to help a friend they automatically assume it's you.

Go to your school counselor and talk about why he sucks.


Go to your school counselor and talk about why he sucks.

Nah, you'd have to go to the teacher so that the teacher can tell the counselor about it. If you tell the counselor then who is he supposed to tell, himself? That'd just be weird.

This is a serious breach of privacy. Talk to the principal about it immediately.

12—I'm not sure it is. A lot of school counselors aren't practicing therapists and don't have MFT's (if OP meant a guidance counselor). If OP was just there for advice and not a therapy session, I'm not sure doctor/patient confidentiality would exist. I can understand why the counselor called the parents—she was trying to help OP. No educator would ignore a student they thought was in need of help (I hope not, anyway). But there may have been better ways to handle it.

MonstreBelle 28

12- I don't know what the laws are in Canada, but in the US privacy laws only go so far when dealing with minors. If a school official thinks that a student poses a credible threat to themselves or others, then they have an obligation to inform that student's parents and can lose their job if they don't.

I'm in Canada, and when I was in junior high I mentioned in a group session that I USED to be anorexic, the lady doing the group session then told the school councilor, who then told my mom. If you are under 18, I think they have an obligation to talk to your parents if they think you may be a danger to yourself. It sucks that they assumed your wanting to help a friend, was a cry for yourself. I hope your mom believes you and your friend gets the help they need.

Ya, if you're under 18 and the teacher thinks you are a danger to yourself or others than they are required by law to tell the parents (or authorities depending how serious). However, it is unfortunate this counsellor told seeing as 1) you said it was for a friend and not yourself, and 2) they have now lost all credibility and trust with you. Even if they did think it was you, it may have been smarter to go along with the "friend" theory and continue to try and help and try and make scheduled appointments. Also, because it was a friend (even if they thought it was you) they aren't required to say anything because it wasn't about you. I hope you can explain to your family and counsellor that it's wasn't you with the issue and I hope you can get some help for your friend.

Canada follows what the US follows. A professor of mine talked about the Tarasoff case (you can Google if you like) and how it sets the precedent of most similar cases in North America.

lexiieeex3 32

I hate how it's become such a cliche that if you go to someone to help a friend they automatically assume it's you.

The one time I went to a school counselor for a friend was when said friend was cutting herself. They believed me and later the girl thanked me for getting help for her. Don't give up OP, if the school staff doesn't believe you, maybe call his/her parents and let them know?

CrassKal 27

To be fair, there exists some pretty clear evidence of cutting. If they can't see any obvious scars or anything they'll likely think it's not you.

@42 Not necessarily I knew a person that would cut their thighs so no one would see. I only found out after they sought out help them self.

Agreed. Yes there are instances where the "friend" is actually themselves. But there are also so many times where a friend is trying to help out another friend. Especially in school. I think it's almost more likely that if a person says they need help for a friend, then it's actually for a friend and not themselves. The cliche has been used so much that people rarely ask for help for themselves by disguising it as "friend" because they know no one will believe it's not for themselves.

MonstreBelle 28

48- (again, this is the US) All school officials are mandated reporters. If OP's friend goes to the same school, then the counselor still has an obligation to tell the friend's parents. It's illegal to not report it, regardless of whether or not that student came directly to them. Also, I'm guessing OP didn't want to tell the counselor her friend's name. If that's the case, then I can understand why the counselor would be worried that OP was talking about herself.

Bulimia falls under "harm to self" and is a mandatory report situation. Since she said "Friend" and didn't identify friend Counselor has only the data he was presented. If he doesn't act on it and the girl dies then he will be held accountable legally. If she had given him her friend's name it would have been that friend's parents getting the phone call.

lexiieeex3 32

Not if they think you are hurting yourself or someone else. The counselor probably thought OP was bulimic herself which is a health issue and psychological disorder.

Students have very little expectation or right to confidentiality on school grounds. It was only a breach of confidence if it was an actual therapy session (many schools do conduct individual or group therapy run by MFT's). Educators are obligated to report students who are planning or have done harm to themselves or others. The counselor probably should have interviewed OP more in depth, or referred her to the school nurse or school psychologist before calling the parents, but I'm not sure I would've done anything differently.

Since OP is probably a minor, OP's parents will be contacted unless it is about them. In which case CPS or the police will be contacted. You don't have very many rights until you are 18.

Sathane 21

Nope. Even psychiatrists are required, by law, to report if you are a danger to yourself or another person - usually in relation to suicidal or homicidal ideation. For anyone under 18, it's worse. You have no expectation of privacy as your guardian/parents are allowed full disclosure.

She never said it was her though. Just assuming that she meant herself when she was mentioning a friend is not grounds to assume that she herself is bulimic.

It's actually not. Some things are, like sexual orientation and (legal) consensual sex but medical issues and criminal activity have to be reported. If the councilors gave the impression that it was confidential then they are liable.

Maybe report counsellor to administration that's kinda ridiculous

deleteme 22

I hate when, whenever you go talk to your teacher about something, they either ignore it, or tells everyone you did something that didn't actually happen..

Honestly, my school counselor is the same way. She stalks the kids (like me) with divorced parents and harasses them about how they're feeling. She constantly finds problems as if trying to prove herself.

Wow that's one bad counsellor- unless your under 16

Why? The counselor may have been too presumptuous, but lots of people go for counseling for their own private problems portending it's a friend's. if the school counselor genuinely thought OP was hurting herself, it had to be made known to OP's parents.

Because if the op for example had a real problem in the future then they will not go to the counsellor because all trust is gone. In uk the counsellor can be struck off for their actions if the person was over 16. Additionally a good counsellor would speak to the child and explain to them what they intend to do and why. This avoids them going behind back and loosing trust. I can't believe people don't understand the importance of confidentiality for counsellors.

corky1992 33

It's probably because some people who are afraid to admit they have a problem say it's a friend instead of them as a way to reach out for help. That sucks that your parents don't believe you.

Misswildsides 22

Assuming your friend won't be upset you asked for help for them, I would maybe ask for them to help clear things up. You get your issue resolved, and your friend gets help. It's a win-win to me.

If you're still a minor it's their obligation to let the parents or guardian know The problem is they misunderstood you and assumed it was you, I know it sucks that you can't rely on a guidance counselor I guess you now lost your confidence in them.

addioty 19

Yeah. I was in a similar situation a few days ago. I was talking about how skinny I was to a friend (I have a medical problem that causes it) and a teacher overheard and reported it to the nurse who harassed my mom and me.