Your trust in me is a very important part of the counselling process and I take the privacy of your personal data very seriously. I provide this privacy statement because you have the right to know how I (the Data Controller) collect, store, protect and use your personal data. As a Data Controller I am registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
What Information do I keep?
Once we have agreed to work together I will ask you to complete a Client Details Form. This will include the following:
•Date of birth
•Doctor’s contact details
In addition to this I will keep a record relating to content of our sessions and dates we have met. I will also keep any emails.
How do I store your data and for how long?
The Client Details Form and the notes from our sessions are both handwritten and stored in a locked filing cabinet that only I access. In the unlikely event that I become incapacitated during our work together and I am unable to contact you myself, your Client Details form would be passed to my Supervisor so that she would make contact with you on my behalf.
Unless you request otherwise I will keep your personal data for three years following the end of our work together after which it will be securely destroyed. The main reason for this is to support the work with clients who may choose to return to counselling during this time. Emails exchanged during our work will usually be deleted once our work is ended.
Will data be shared?
Although I treat all information disclosed as confidential, there are circumstances in which your personal data may be shared with other agencies.
Good therapeutic practice requires me to use appropriate regular supervisory support and any details my Supervisor receives are also treated as confidential. However, there are limitations to confidentiality and in the rare event of having to break confidentiality I would use the following criteria:
•If in my opinion a client is in danger to themselves or others.
•If in my opinion a young person under the age of 18 or a vulnerable adult is at risk of harm.
•Under a legal requirement e.g. the client is involved in a terrorist activity or drug money laundering.
•If ordered by a court of law.
How do I see what information you are keeping on me?
As a client you have the right to request a copy and explanation of your personal data and this request should be made in writing. The data will be given free of charge.
As a client you have the right to request correction or erasure of your personal data and these requests should also be made in writing. If a client believes there is an inaccuracy in their record, they can ask for it to be corrected, with my agreement. Should there be a disagreement about what would be the correct record then I would include a copy of the client’s objections.
Requests for erasure are usually agreed if our work has ended however, there are circumstances where a counsellor can refuse to comply with the request, for example, to comply with a legal obligation or in the public interest. If the work is on-going a request for erasure would usually mean the end of the counselling as I would be unable to work effectively or safely without the ability to hold your personal data.