Privileged Communications with Counselors


Can defense attorneys subpoena the therapist records of alleged victims? Ohio R.C. 2317.02 addresses privileged communication. Division G includes counselors that are defined, with certain exceptions, as:

“A school guidance counselor who holds a valid educator license from the state board of education as provided for in section 3319.22 of the Revised Code, a person licensed under Chapter 4757. of the Revised Code as a licensed professional clinical counselor, licensed professional counselor, social worker, independent social worker, marriage and family therapist or independent marriage and family therapist, or registered under Chapter 4757. of the Revised Code as a social work assistant concerning a confidential communication received from a client in that relation or the person's advice to a client”

However, if the accuser voluntarily testifies about discussions with the counselor, it can be argued that the privilege is waived. (R.C. 2317.02(G)(1)(d)). Also, Ohio courts have held that testimony on cross-examination does not qualify as a voluntary waiver of privilege.

If the accuser takes the stand and, on direct examination, testifies about specific conversations with a therapist or counselor, then the defendant can certainly compel counselor or therapist to the stand to testify.