Data Protection & Privacy
This policy only applies to data collected by myself. Third parties, which in a professional capacity may be linked to me, are not covered by this policy. If you, having read this statement, have any queries concerning your personal information or any questions on our use of the information, please contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By contacting me, whether requesting to receive additional information or counselling from me or otherwise provide your personal details to me, you recognise you have consented to my processing of your information under the terms of this policy.
What information is collected?
Requesting access to my services or inquiring into my services can be done via email or phone through the details I provide, or in person. These processes involve providing me with your name, your email address(es) and phone number(s). In order to arrange for you to receive my services, I may also request information on your availability, therapeutic issues, and other details I deem relevant to considering your request. This information is collected to determine whether both you and myself are similarly available for you to receive the counselling service I offer, and for me to determine whether the service I offer is in any way unsuitable to your needs.
During your initial counselling session(s) I may ask you to provide information concerning your personal, social, financial and medical circumstances. This too is information collected to determine whether the service I offer is in any way unsuitable to your needs and for me to manage the service I provide to you. I want to ensure you receive the service best for you.
To ensure I am providing you with the highest level of service I can, I may sometimes keep notes on your sessions. These are brief and include such things as summaries to the material you have brought to your sessions, as well as my own professional observations and interpretations to that material. As you continue with your sessions, this information may be added to and amended as a means of reflecting any progression in your counselling.
How is your information used?
The information you provide me is used so that I may provide my counselling service to you. As mentioned above, it is also to determine both your availability to receive my counselling service and my availability to provide it, as well as determine whether the service I offer is in any way unsuitable to your needs, and for me to manage the service I provide to you.
The information is used so I may contact you solely in regards to the services I provide as a means of administering my service, including the (re)arrangement of sessions and the handling of financial matters. I may also use the information to improve my service to ensure that it is provided in the most effective manner for you and for myself.
The information is also used to fulfil my administrative, professional and legal obligations to the professional associations that I am a member of and subject to as a counsellor providing this service, and to the law.
How is your information shared?
I will not share any information about you with other people or organisations, except for/under the following circumstances:
I may share your information with professional carers or others whom you have requested or agreed we should contact.
I may share your information with the relevant authorities if I have reason to believe that this may prevent serious harm being caused to you or another person.
I may share your information where I am required to by law or by the regulations and other rules to which I am subject.
Sharing your information may have a detrimental effect on the therapeutic process and the counselling you receive from me. It is therefore something I avoid where possible, preferring to first explore the issue with you as part of the counselling service you receive.
How is your information kept secure?
All information you provide to me is stored as securely as possible. Any paper based information is kept secure in a locked filing case within my own professional premises. This location itself is securely locked when I am not there and is accessible only via my house, which is securely locked at all times, or via gate access to my garden, which is locked when I am either not present there or expecting it to be used.
Contact details used for contact between you and myself that are kept electronically are also appropriately secured. Phone numbers are stored on a SIM card that only I use solely for my professional services, in a separate phone that only I use solely for my professional services, that is itself protected from access from all but myself by a PIN code. This phone is not a smart phone with internet access or GPS functionality.
Email addresses used for correspondence between you and myself are stored within a Gmail account that is protected from access from all but myself using a randomised password. This account is accessed only on internet connections I have control over, from devices only I own and know are protected from viruses and other online security threats by AVG services, in as much as their cyber-security products are capable. Similarly to myself, these third party services are subject to laws and regulations such as The Data Protection Act and GDPR, ensuring any information is kept securely protected, subject to their own privacy policies.
Unfortunately, the transmission of information via the internet is never completely secure. Although I will do my best to protect your information, I cannot guarantee the security of your data transmitted to me via email. Any transmission is at your own risk.
You have the right to ask me to provide a copy of your own, and only your own, information held by me in my records. You also have the right to request me to correct any inaccuracies in your personally identifiable information.
Details regarding your counselling kept to ensure I am providing you with a high level of service, such as session notes, may not be changed at your request as these are my own professional observations and interpretations to the material you have presented during your sessions.
You may withdraw your consent for myself to hold and process any of your information, and only your information, at any time. By doing this while actively receiving counselling services from me, you agree to bring your counselling to end, and to paying any outstanding fees I am owed by you for the service you have received from me. You can withdraw your consent by submitting a formal written request to me directly, either via email or in paper form.
v1.3 January 2020
All clients are required to sign a counselling agreement that they will be free to discuss during their initial session. The purpose of the agreement is to establish an understanding of the counselling process, as well as safeguard against unethical practice.