2011 Connecticut Code
Title 52 Civil Actions
Chapter 899 Evidence
Sec. 52-146c. Privileged communications between psychologist and patient.

      Sec. 52-146c. Privileged communications between psychologist and patient. (a) As used in this section:

      (1) "Person" means an individual who consults a psychologist for purposes of diagnosis or treatment;

      (2) "Psychologist" means an individual licensed to practice psychology pursuant to chapter 383;

      (3) "Communications" means all oral and written communications and records thereof relating to the diagnosis and treatment of a person between such person and a psychologist or between a member of such person's family and a psychologist;

      (4) "Consent" means consent given in writing by the person or his authorized representative;

      (5) "Authorized representative" means (A) an individual empowered by a person to assert the confidentiality of communications which are privileged under this section, or (B) if a person is deceased, his personal representative or next of kin, or (C) if a person is incompetent to assert or waive his privileges hereunder, (i) a guardian or conservator who has been or is appointed to act for the person, or (ii) for the purpose of maintaining confidentiality until a guardian or conservator is appointed, the person's nearest relative.

      (b) Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, in civil and criminal actions, in juvenile, probate, commitment and arbitration proceedings, in proceedings preliminary to such actions or proceedings, and in legislative and administrative proceedings, all communications shall be privileged and a psychologist shall not disclose any such communications unless the person or his authorized representative consents to waive the privilege and allow such disclosure. The person or his authorized representative may withdraw any consent given under the provisions of this section at any time in a writing addressed to the individual with whom or the office in which the original consent was filed. The withdrawal of consent shall not affect communications disclosed prior to notice of the withdrawal.

      (c) Consent of the person shall not be required for the disclosure of such person's communications:

      (1) If a judge finds that any person after having been informed that the communications would not be privileged, has made the communications to a psychologist in the course of a psychological examination ordered by the court, provided the communications shall be admissible only on issues involving the person's psychological condition;

      (2) If, in a civil proceeding, a person introduces his psychological condition as an element of his claim or defense or, after a person's death, his condition is introduced by a party claiming or defending through or as a beneficiary of the person, and the judge finds that it is more important to the interests of justice that the communications be disclosed than that the relationship between the person and psychologist be protected;

      (3) If the psychologist believes in good faith that there is risk of imminent personal injury to the person or to other individuals or risk of imminent injury to the property of other individuals;

      (4) If child abuse, abuse of an elderly individual or abuse of an individual who is disabled or incompetent is known or in good faith suspected;

      (5) If a psychologist makes a claim for collection of fees for services rendered, the name and address of the person and the amount of the fees may be disclosed to individuals or agencies involved in such collection, provided notification that such disclosure will be made is sent, in writing, to the person not less than thirty days prior to such disclosure. In cases where a dispute arises over the fees or claims or where additional information is needed to substantiate the claim, the disclosure of further information shall be limited to the following: (A) That the person was in fact receiving psychological services, (B) the dates of such services, and (C) a general description of the types of services; or

      (6) If the communications are disclosed to a member of the immediate family or legal representative of the victim of a homicide committed by the person where such person has, on or after July 1, 1989, been found not guilty of such offense by reason of mental disease or defect pursuant to section 53a-13, provided such family member or legal representative requests the disclosure of such communications not later than six years after such finding, and provided further, such communications shall only be available during the pendency of, and for use in, a civil action relating to such person found not guilty pursuant to section 53a-13.

      (1969, P.A. 597, S. 13; P.A. 82-160, S. 63; P.A. 89-154, S. 1; P.A. 92-225, S. 3, 5.)

      History: P.A. 82-160 rephrased the section and inserted Subsec. indicators; P.A. 89-154 amended Subsec. (a) to redefine "person" and to add the definitions of "psychologist", "communications", "consent", and "authorized representative", amended Subsec. (b) to rephrase its provisions, to extend the prohibition on disclosure to "juvenile, probate, commitment and arbitration proceedings", and to add provisions re the manner and effect of a withdrawal of consent, and amended Subsec. (c) to replace the introductory provision that "Relevant communications under this section shall not be privileged" with "Consent of the person shall not be required for the disclosure of such person's communications", deleting reference to a "clinical" psychologist in Subsec. (c)(1) and adding Subsecs. (c)(3) to (5), inclusive, re exceptions when there is risk of imminent injury to person or property, when abuse is known or suspected, and when claim is made for collection of fees for services rendered; P.A. 92-225 added Subsec. (c)(6) re exception when communications are disclosed under limited circumstances to the immediate family or legal representative of certain homicide victims.

      Cited. 191 C. 453. Cited. 203 C. 641. Erroneous denial of psychiatrist-patient privilege does not infringe upon right of any person other than the one to whom the privilege is given. 208 C. 683. Cited. 211 C. 555.

      Cited. 18 CA 273. Cited. 23 CA 98; Id., 330. Cited. 24 CA 287. Court did not violate statute by ordering disclosure of substance abuse and psychiatric treatment records of parents in case involving termination of their parental rights. 48 CA 563.

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