I am a self-employed counsellor and supervisor working in private practice. I am classed as a sole trader which means I am the only counsellor/supervisor in my business and have no employees. Your privacy is extremely important to me. I abide by the ACC and BACP code of ethics and will never sell or misuse your information. This Privacy Statement explains what information I may collect about you, how I use it and how it is stored.
Use of website
If you use the online enquiry form to contact me your contact details and message will be stored on my smartphone which is password protected and these details will be used for me to reply to your enquiry. If you do not enter into a counselling agreement or further correspondence with me these details will be deleted within a period of 1 month. If you proceed into a counselling agreement with me these will be stored in accordance with the conditions below.
Records of contact between us
I will hold your name and telephone number on my mobile phone until our counselling relationship ends and then I will delete it from my contact list. However, the phone will retain summary records of calls made to or from your number (date and duration) and any recorded messages for three years.
If we agree to communicate by text or by email, these records may be kept for the same duration as your counselling notes. My mobile phone is a smart phone and could therefore also have your texts, and email and email address available on it. The phone is password protected and details are stored in ‘the cloud’ so they can be restored if my phone is lost or stolen.
Information about You
In order for me to be able to fulfil my responsibilities as a counsellor I will need to record some personal information about you. This information includes your name, address and contact details, and GP practice. Under an identifying code I will also takes notes of ‘assessment information’, that is relevant medical information and aspects of your personal social and family history that you choose to share with me. This information will be retained in separate locations (keeping your name and contact details apart from the assessment notes) in password protected files, on a password protected PC which has virus protection software installed or as a paper record in a lockable container.
Your contact details will be used to contact you in agreed circumstances. Other personal data such as your name, address and/or date of birth may be used to verify your identify if there is a need to contact your G.P. or a request for access to personal data from yourself or your representative or legitimate legal instrument such as a court order. I will not contact your G.P. without your specific consent unless I have reason to believe there is legitimate risk to your or others’ safety.
This personal information will be held for a period of three years after the cessation of our counselling relationship, except where there is a mutually agreed decision to retain it for longer or where I believe that it is in my best professional interests to do so.
Your contact details alone may be shared in exceptional circumstances with my supervisor or other named agent in the event that I am incapacitated so that they can contact you to explain the situation.
Information about counselling sessions and our work together
Also I will record notes of each therapy session under an identifying code. These notes will be a brief factual record of the session. This set of notes will include any agreements made with regard to, for example, cancelled sessions or changes to the way the therapy is conducted. The notes are held in a password-protected file in my password protected drop box folder or as a paper record in a lockable container.
These notes will be held for a period of three years after the cessation of counselling except where I agree with you to retain them for longer or where I believe that it is in my best professional interests to do so.
Information you have shared with me may be shared under the identifying code with my supervisor, counselling professional body or similar for purposes of maintaining professional standards and aiding my professional development.
I will not share information from these notes with any other party except under the following conditions:
- Receipt of a request from you or your representative, and where the release of the notes is not judged by me as likely to cause you significant harm or harm to another person
- Where there is a specific legal requirement for me to do so
- Where there is an ethical duty for me to do, for example to avoid serious harm to yourself or another person, including the safeguarding of children or vulnerable adults.
If I am required to break confidentiality under the above conditions I will endeavour to inform you and discuss this where possible.
You have the right to ask to see any information held by me about you. To do this please either ask me or submit a request by writing. You also have the right to ask for information that you believe to be incorrect to be rectified. I will endeavour to provide you with the information requested within four weeks.
If I become aware of a situation where your personal information may have accidently or maliciously been obtained by a third party I will notify you within three days.
If you are concerned about the way that your information is being held please discuss this with me. If you are still unhappy you have the write to complain to the Information Commissioners Office.