In order to provide you with the best service possible, I need to hold your personal contact details and records of your therapy sessions. This privacy notice tells you what I will do with your personal information from initial point of contact through to after your therapy has ended. Your privacy is very important to me, and you can be confident that your personal information will be kept safe and secure and will only be used for the purpose it was given to me, in accordance with the current General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
My lawful basis for holding and using your personal information
The GDPR states that I must have a lawful basis for processing your personal data. There are different lawful bases depending on the stage at which I am processing your data. If you have had therapy with me and it has now ended, I will use legitimate interest as my lawful basis for holding and using your personal information. If you are currently having therapy or if you are in contact with me to consider therapy, I will process your personal data where it is necessary for the performance of our contract.
How I use your information
I will never use your personal data for any purposes other than the administration of the therapy service that I am providing to you i.e.to arrange, cancel and rearrange appointments. I will only retain your personal information for as long as is necessary. This is in line with guidance from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
Initial contact: When you contact me to book your first appointment I will collect some brief information to help me to process your enquiry. This will include your name, so that I can book the appointment into my diary, and also a contact method, for example an email address or phone number. If an enquiry is made and you decide not to proceed, any stored contact information will be deleted.
While you are accessing therapy: Your email address or phone number will be used to provide you with written confirmation of your appointment times if you have given consent for this. Your email address and telephone number will only be used to contact you regarding appointment times unless we have agreed that I will also use your email address to email you information that is relevant to your therapy sessions.
At the beginning of your first appointment I will ask you to complete a personal details form containing your name, address, date of birth, contact information and also GP surgery contact information.
Rest assured that what is said in our sessions will be kept confidential. I am a Registered Member of the British Association of Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP) and I abide by their professional code of ethics. Confidentiality will only be broken if there are legal or ethical obligations to disclose.
Counsellors are required to have regular supervision support so I may discuss our work with my supervisor who also abides by the BACP’s code of ethics regarding confidentiality. This would be done without identifying you. I am required to keep brief notes of our therapy sessions which do not include any personal details that could be used to identify you, which are stored securely in a locked filing cabinet that only I have access to. Your therapy notes are stored separately to your personal details form.
After therapy has ended: There are reasons why counsellors are required to keep records after therapy has ended. For example, in the case of financial transactions, personal information must be retained for as long as legally required in respect of tax or accounting purposes. I endeavour to maintain only data that is relevant, accurate and up to date. I will periodically review the data that I hold and delete data that is no longer relevant to my purpose for processing. I may keep your therapy records for an extended period of time and others permanently if required to do so. For example, I will keep contracts only until the contract ends, but I will keep session notes for 5 years from the date the therapy concluded as per guidance from my legal and professional bodies.
I take the security of the data that I hold about you very seriously. My email account is password protected and mobile phones and laptops used to respond to your emails are password protected and have anti-virus software.
By accessing the website, you are consenting to the information collection and use practices described in this privacy notice. Should you choose to contact me using the contact form on the website, none of the data that you supply will be stored by the website or passed to any third party data processors.
Under 2018 GDPR guidelines you have the right to request access to the personal information that I store and process about you. You can ask for corrections to be made to the information held or for your personal information to be deleted. You can also ask me to restrict the processing of your personal information or to object to the processing of it altogether in some circumstances. You can read more about your rights at www.ico.org.uk/your-data-matters.
If you have a complaint about how I handle your personal data please do not hesitate to contact me. If you want to make a formal complaint about the way I have processed your personal information you can contact the ICO which is the statutory body that oversees data protection law in the UK. For more information please go to https://ico.org.uk/