Confidentiality and privacy are very important aspects of the counselling relationship. Everything that is discussed in the counselling session is kept in the strictest confidence with the exception of the following four occasions:
• The client gives informed consent for information to be passed on.
• The client discloses information about the risk of abuse or harm to children.
• There is a serious risk of suicide or harm to self or others.
• If the Counsellor is required to do so by a UK court of law ie information regarding acts of terrorism or money laundering.
If a situation arises where confidentiality cannot be maintained, then this will be discussed with you beforehand where possible.
In order to fully benefit from Counselling sessions, clients need to be in a position to be fully receptive and therefore sessions will unfortunately not be able to take place if a client has recently used drugs and/or alcohol.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
Personal Information Collected
• Date of Birth
• Contact phone number and/or email address
• Presenting problem
• Counselling history
• General Practitioners details
• Medical conditions relevant to counselling
• Client aims and expectations relating to counselling
How we store information
Handwritten notes pertaining to session content and personal details contained with the initial assessment form are kept separate in a locked cabinet.
Any electronic devices such as smart phones are locked and only accessible using password and/or fingerprints. Your contact number is stored using your pseudonym or reference number only.
Email addresses are stored on our Exchange email server.
No personal information is stored on our website other than to momentarily collect and send enquiries through to our Exchange email server for initial contact purposes.
Third Party Websites – Clients may find content on our website that link to the sites of other third parties. We do not control these sites which have a link to ours and Phoenix Counselling Services is not responsible for how they collect, store or use information.
• Initial Assessment form
• Contract – The client is issued with a copy at commencement of counselling and a copy is held by the Counsellor for reference.
• Privacy Statement – The client is issued with a copy at commencement of counselling and a signed copy is held by the Counsellor for reference.
• Annual Diary – Appointments booked using clients pseudonym or reference number.
• Client session notes – Kept for 5 years to comply with Insurance Policy terms.
How Counsellors may share your personal information
Supervision – All Counsellors attend monthly clinical supervision to ensure their practice remains safe and ethical. Session details may be shared with their Supervisor using client pseudonyms.
Emergencies – If your health is in jeopardy, your Counsellor may share your details with a healthcare service such as the Mental Health Crisis Team or your GP.
Erasing your information
All electronic enquiries are erased after 3 months. All text messages and contact numbers are erased 3 months following the cessation of therapy.
Phoenix Counselling Services holds written information for up to 5 years following the cessation of therapy. This is so we have a reference should you decide to return to therapy in the future.
Right to access – You have the right to ask for a copy of your personal information, free of charge, in an electronic or paper format. You also have the right to ask for us to amend any incorrect information about you.
Right to be Forgotten – You have the right to ask us to erase any information that we hold about you. This includes your personal information that is no longer relevant to original purposes, or if you wish to withdraw consent. In all cases and when considering such requests, these rights are obligatory unless it is information that we have a legal obligation to retain.
Data Portability – As the client, you have the right to receive your personal information which you previously provided. You also have the right to transfer that information to another party. All requests to access, erase or transfer your personal information should be made in writing. For the purposes of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) 2018, the data ‘Controller’ is Tanya Clifton, Phoenix Counselling Services.