Data Protection / Privacy Statement
In May 2018 it became a legal requirement under the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation ) for therapists to make clear their data processing procedure. You can find out more about the GDPR and the UK 2018 Data Protection Act from the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office - https://ico.org.uk/)
The following contains details of my data processing procedure:
Reason for collecting Personal Data/Information
I collect relevant personal information from clients and supervisees to enable a working record of contact information, in case of emergencies (explained below) and for the ongoing work in the therapeutic relationship.
Confidentiality – Will my therapist share my Data?
I am bound by the BACP Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions, and also the BACP Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions Supplementary Guidance: Working Online (GPiA 047) and provide confidentiality within these guidelines.
Our sessions are strictly confidential, and the contents will not be disclosed beyond good practice guidelines. These guidelines dictate the following exceptions to the confidentiality rule:
• I am required by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) to engage in regular supervision. You may be discussed during the supervision; however your identity will remain anonymous. Clinical supervision is in place to ensure that a therapist is working ethically and safely, and to ensure that you receive the best practice. I abide by the BACP Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions.
• Therapists are required to break confidentiality if they assess you are a risk of harm to yourself or to others. If at all possible they would always discuss a potential breach of confidentiality with you in advance. I would thus break confidentiality only to the relevant persons or authorities for the purpose of assisting your well being or the safety of others.
• Under the GDPR therapists also has a legal requirement to disclose data if you are involved in drug money laundering, planning terrorist’s offences or if a Court Order has been made.
• With regard to online counselling via email, and webcam, the police and other authorities can ask for access to an individual’s email account or synchronous messaging account where there is suspicion of illegal or terrorist activities. They can also ask therapists for access to stored records.
How will my therapist store personal data and for how long?
Personal data pertaining to our sessions and work together will be as minimal as is possible and will be stored under a coded client ID, password protected, and encrypted. Any handwritten information will be coded and stored under lock and key. Personal data/records of our sessions will be kept for up to 7 years after our work together has ended. Your personal data will be disposed of by wiping the electronic files and shredding any handwritten information. You can also request (in writing) that this data is destroyed : during our contact, once our work together ends, or at any time thereafter.
Your telephone number will be coded by your initials plus an icon to indicate purpose of contact (ie. client). Your telephone number will be stored only for contact purposes, until such time as our contact ceases. Then it will be completely deleted.
Your rights under GDPR
You have the right to request access to your client record and receive an explanation of what is held within it.
You have the right to withdraw consent, to request erasure or correction of your client record, to request portability where it applies in law, and to object to or restrict collection and processing of your data.
You have the right to know the source/s of personal data not originating from yourself, and the right to not receive unsolicited marketing.
You will be made aware of any data breaches within 72 hours.
You have the right to complain to the ICO (Information Commissioners Office) if you are unhappy with the data processing arrangements, and to engage representation from a not-for-profit body in doing so.
To summarise :
• I collect, store and process personal information about you to enable me to run my counselling/psychotherapy practice. This information can include contact information, as well as information about your age, health (mental and physical), sexuality (where relevant to the therapeutic work), domestic and financial arrangements (where relevant) and other special category data. I am able to collect this information upon the legal basis of "Legitimate Interests", as per GDPR regulations.
• Your information is stored anonymously, under lock and key and/or password and encryption protected. I may use this information to track the progress of our work together or to receive reflection and guidance from my supervisor. I will keep this information for up to 7 years. When deleted it will be by wiping electronic files and shredding any handwritten information.
• With regards to how this information is used, you have the right to have information about you deleted, have inaccuracies corrected, the right to access information about you - free of charge - within 1 month, the right not to receive any unsolicited marketing, the right to determine how information about you is processed and the right to complain if you are unhappy about any of the above by contacting the Information Commissioners Office here: https://ico.org.uk/concerns/, although I trust that you will try to discuss this with me in the first instance.
• Should anything happen to me that prevents me from attending a session and from communicating with you directly - such as illness or death - then I have appointed a Therapeutic Executor. The Therapeutic Executor would be able to access your contact details and inform you should this situation arise.
Your written consent acknowledging that you fully understand and accept this Data Protection/ Privacy Statement for records held, and use of personal and sensitive personal data for the stated purposes will be required prior to the commencement of therapy.