At Garden Room Counselling I understand how important your privacy is. I take care to maintain your confidentiality in accordance with current data protection laws General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR, 2018) and the ethical guidelines of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and the National Counselling Society (NCS). These guidelines have been set up to protect your confidential material and ensure that your therapist always conducts themselves with professionalism and integrity.
To provide you with the best service possible, I will hold your personal contact details and records of your therapy sessions. Please find below important information about how this information will be held and used.
Your Personal Information
At the point of booking your initial appointment with me, I will complete an assessment form, where I will ask for your personal contact information, for example, your name, address, email address, and telephone number as well as details of the issues you are looking for help with. And your contact information, date of birth, contact information for your GP and elected Emergency Contact. Your contact information is stored securely in a password protected system.
This information can only be accessed by myself. Your notes are stored in a locked cabinet and will only be accessed by me.
This personal information will be held for the duration of your therapy after which it will be held for seven years. Please note that I will need to keep these records for seven years after the end of your therapy, so that I can respond effectively to any potential requests regarding your clinical notes and treatment. If there are any safeguarding issues raised in your therapy these notes will be kept for seventy-five years, which is in line with the children’s act 2004 and the safeguarding vulnerable groups act 2006.
I will never pass on your contact details to any third-party organisations for the purposes of sales, marketing or research and will never use your personal data for any purposes other than the administration of the counselling service I are providing to you i.e. to arrange, cancel and rearrange appointments and collect payment for sessions.
If you ask me to refer you to another organisation for further support, I will share with that organisation your assessment form. I will inform you of this.
Your Payment Details
My website does not hold your payment information. Where you have made payment for your session over the phone, I will never keep a record of your card details. Your information is inputted directly into the card machine and no written record, apart from the merchant copy receipt, will be taken.
Your Therapy Sessions
Everything that you discuss with your therapist is confidential.
Your counsellor may have to pass on any information to the relevant authorities in cases where human safety is concerned including the following cases:
1. If you threaten harm to yourself or to another person
2. If I believe a child or protected adult is at risk of harm or abuse
3. If the courts instruct me to give information
4. If you share information about a proposed act of terrorism or another illegal act
I will always endeavour to speak to you about this first.
I will also keep notes of each session. These are anonymised and are stored in a locked filing cabinet. These notes are for my use as your therapist only and help them to keep a track of everything that is being discussed. In line with industry guidelines, these notes must be kept securely for seven years after your therapy comes to an end. After this time, they will be confidentially destroyed. If there are any safeguarding issues raised in your therapy these notes will be kept for seventy-five years, which is in line with the children’s act 2004 and the safeguarding vulnerable groups act 2006.
If your sessions are paid for or arranged via a third party, (e.g. your employer, a friend, or a family member), other than payment requests, invoices or receipts your counselling information will not be shared. Details about what is discussed in your sessions will remain confidential between you me as your therapist. Any other information can only be shared if you give me your written consent to do so.
Your Communications With Me
My email account uses secure Google servers. If you send an email to my email address, only I will have access to it. All phones, tablets and laptops used to respond to your emails are encrypted, fully protected with anti-virus software and password protected.
I will only use your email address and telephone number to contact you about your appointments. I may also contact you directly via email in order to share information with you that is pertinent to your therapeutic process. Your phone number and email address will also be used to issue appointment reminders via text message and email.
Any personal data retained by me as your therapist is kept in accordance with the GDPR, 2018.
Under these guidelines you have the following rights:
1. The right to request access to your data
You can request to view the information that I hold about you (contact details, appointment logs etc.) at any time. If during therapy you would like to see your session notes, please make this request directly.
Should you require a copy of your notes after your therapy has come to an end you can make this request by emailing my office at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling me on (01790) 754022, or in writing to, Garden Room Counselling, 90, Main Road, Hundleby, Spilsby, Lincolnshire PE23 5LZ
2. The right of rectification
At any point during your time at Garden Room Counselling or during the seven years thereafter, while I retain your records, you have the right to request amendments to your contact details or session notes. This right can be exercised either by speaking directly to myself or by contacting my office.
3. The right to be forgotten
You can request that I delete and confidentially destroy the information that I hold about you and your sessions at any time. This request can be made by contacting the management team. I will destroy any identifying details I hold about you, such as name address etc. I have to keep your client notes for 7 years or 75 years if any safeguarding issues are mentioned in your sessions.
Instances where I would not be able to comply with your request are as follows:
a) It is necessary for me to retain these records in order to continue providing an effective service
b) I am compelled to retain these records by a Court of Law
c) I require these records in order to establish, exercise or defend legal claims
At the end of your initial consultation/first appointment, you will be asked to sign a consent form stating that you understand and agree to my terms and conditions and the privacy agreement outlined above. In doing so you give Garden Room Counselling permission to store, access, and use your personal contact details and session notes within the legitimate remit of providing a counselling service to you. You are entitled to withdraw this consent at any time and can do so by emailing me at email@example.com
Breaches Of Data Protection
In the event of any breach of my data protection policies, I will notify you and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) within 72 hours and will seek to rectify this immediately.
Should you have any concerns about my data protection practices, you can raise these directly with your therapist and/or the management team. Or directly with the Data Protection Officer Jonathon Wilkinson-White. You can also notify the Information Commissioner’s Office.