Jacksonville Biblical Counseling Center, hereafter JBCC, understand that confidentiality is an important and vital characteristic of the counseling relationship. To that end, JBCC and its representatives agree to carefully guard to the fullest extent possible the information entrusted to them by counselees.
Staff members and students participating in the JBCC program are expected to protect the information they receive in order to ensure the highest integrity of the counseling process and the privacy of the counselee. Should a counselor fail to protect information it may become necessary for them to be dismissed from service in the JBCC program. The decision to dismiss a counselor will be determined by the Pastor of JBC & Board of Elders of Southern View Chapel.
Even though JBCC has a high regard for confidentiality there are certain circumstances where it may be necessary to reveal information obtained in the counseling process in order to uphold the principles of Scripture, the standards of Jacksonville Bible Church, and/or the laws of the state of Illinois. JBCC does not hold to the legal concepts of the priest/penitent, doctor/patient, psychotherapist/patient or counselor/counselee privileges, unless one of the pastors from JBCC is doing the counseling. In such case that Pastor’s role as a Pastor will override this policy and he has the option to counsel under the priest/penitent laws of the state of Illinois.
Some situations where JBCC may deem it necessary to reveal otherwise confidential information include but are not limited to:
1. Where a counselee is encouraged to renounce a particular sin but refuses to do so, it may become necessary to seek the assistance of others in the church to encourage repentance and reconciliation in accordance with Scripture (cf. Proverbs 15:22, 24:11; Matthew 18:15-20). In such cases only the information that is necessary to deal with that particular sin will be revealed. Further, such information will only be revealed to those Biblically required to be involved. When following Scripture in such cases it may become necessary to contact the pastor and/or other elders of a counselee’s home church.
2. Counselors uncertain as to how a particular issue should be addressed may reveal necessary information to and seek assistance from another counselor or one of the pastors at JBCC or their sending church, Southern View Chapel.
3. Where a counselee threatens to harm himself/herself or another person, it may become necessary to notify the proper legal authorities, family members, pastor, intended victim or all of the above. If the counselee makes such threats in the context of a counseling session, the Counselor will immediately consult with another JBCC or SVC Counselor and/or the Director who will work with them to assess the situation and assist in making the appropriate notifications, if necessary.
4. If a counselor is made aware of evidence that abuse or some other crime has been or is about to be committed, it may be necessary to reveal such to the legal authorities.
5. JBCC recognizes that in the course of the loving discipline of their children, Christian parents may employ corporal punishment, in accordance with the teachings of scripture and, in conformity with those Scriptures, JBCC supports a parent’s right to do so. However, if in the course of counseling, the Counselor suspects that a minor child has been physically or sexually abused, the Counselor will immediately consult with another JBCC or SVC Counselor and/or the Director who will assist in the assessment of the situation. If it is then suspected that abuse has occurred, the legal authorities will be contacted immediately. If no other counselor is available and a child is in imminent danger of being abused, the Counselor will immediately contact the appropriate legal authorities without employing the above consultation process.
6. Observers, including but not limited to counselors in training, may sit in on counseling sessions either to assist in the counseling process or for training purposes. JBCC’s sister counseling center, Springfield Biblical Counseling Center, is a training center for biblical counseling and has ongoing training classes. One aspect of the training is to observe other counselors as they counsel people. Advance notice will be given to a counselee if possible.
7. All observers and counselors agree to be bound by this confidentiality agreement and should they be found to be in violation of this agreement understand they face expulsion from the JBCC counseling program by the Pastor of JBC & Board of Elders of Southern View Chapel.