III.E COUPLES COUNSELING

Effective Date: 
Fri, 08/01/2008
Reviewed: 
Wed, 05/27/2015
Revised: 
Sun, 08/28/2011
Policy: 

CAPS provides couples counseling to both student-student couples and student-non-student couples. 

Couples Counseling Documentation:

Each member of a student-student couple seen in counseling at CAPS should have an open electronic health record (EHR) while receiving services.  Each student should have an individual note in EHR documenting each couples session.  Notes should not include the name or other Protected Health Information (PHI) of the partner.  Each member will be asked to sign the Informed Consent form at the outset of treatment that explains the documentation policy regarding couples counseling and also stipulates that, despite our efforts, the partner may be identifiable in the individual record (i.e.-when working with a married couple).

As our mandate and scope of service is to provide counseling to actively enrolled students of UCSC, when a student presents for couples counseling with a non-student an EHR will be established for the student and the non-student will be seen as a collateral to that service.  For instance, a student experiencing depressive symptoms secondary to relational problems will be seen with his/her significant other to address relational issues in an effort to reduce symptomology.  Notes should not include the name or other Protected Health Information (PHI) of the partner but should only refer to a non-student partner who is being seen as collateral to the student’s care.

Couples Counseling and Releases of Information:

Each student in a student-student couple will have the right to request a release of information for their individual record, which will include documentation of the couple’s work.  A student has no right or access to their partner’s health record.  In a student-non-student (collateral) situation, only the student has rights regarding the health record

Key Points: 

Definitions:

Couples Counseling– The process of working with two people who are engaged in a romantic relationship geared towards addressing identified relational concerns.  Focus is typically on identifying dysfunctional patterns and improving communication. 

Collateral– An individual  who has close ties to the identified client and is seen along with the client to help achieve treatment goals. 

Student- A currently enrolled undergraduate or graduate at UCSC who is paying registration fees.

Non-Student– An individual not currently affiliated with UCSC but in a relationship with a UCSC student.