Jump directly to the content

Counseling Session Notes and the Clergy-Penitent Privilege

Personal notes made by ministers during counseling sessions may be privileged.

Key point. Personal notes ministers make during counseling sessions may be privileged.

A federal court in Virginia ruled that the clergy-penitent privilege applied to a pastoral counselor, and that as a result the counselor did not have to disclose notes she took during counseling sessions.

A woman was injured when she was struck by a can falling from the top shelf in a grocery store. She later sued the grocery store for personal injuries and emotional distress. At the time of the accident and thereafter the woman sought counseling from a pastoral counselor at a local nonprofit, multidenominational counseling center operated by 8 churches. All of the counselors at the center are ordained ministers.

During the woman's counseling sessions, her counselor followed her usual practice of taking notes. The grocery store learned of the counseling relationship and issued a subpoena seeking disclosure ...

Join now to access this member-only content

Become a Member

Already a member? for full access.

Related Topics:
Posted:
  • September 1, 1994

Related ResourcesVisit Store

Using Social Media Safely
Using Social Media Safely
Policies to keep your church staff and members safe when using social media.
12 Law & Tax Guidelines for New Ministers
12 Law & Tax Guidelines for New Ministers
Essential knowledge to ensure legal and financial clarity and integrity in ministry.