Any personal data provided by you to your therapist through any means (verbal, written, in electronic form, or by your use of our website) will be held and processed in accordance with the data protection principles set out in the Data Protection Act 1998 and the General Data Protection Regulation 2018 for the purposes for which you have given consent, to provide the services you have requested from us, and to meet the legitimate interests of our business.
This policy only applies to data collected by us, and via our own forms and website. Third party agents, and websites which are linked to ours, are not covered by this policy.
What information do we collect?
Therapy requests – You can contact us online, by email or telephone. At that stage you will need to provide us with your name, telephone number(s) and email address. We may also request information on your availability, therapeutic issues, and other details which we deem relevant to processing your request.
Introductory sessions – At this initial appointment we ask about your current personal, social, medical circumstances and your reasons for seeking therapy. We may also ask about your background and family history, as well as the issues which are affecting you now. We require this information so that we can decide about our offer of therapy to you, and to manage the service we provide you with.
Other forms – When you commence therapy with us, we ask you to complete a personal details form and sign a service agreement. From time to time, we may use other forms to support your therapeutic process. Personal information that we collect from you includes your name, contact details (phone numbers, email address and addresses), your date of birth, GP details (if agreed), as well as any other personal information relating to you that you choose to provide to us during the course of therapy.
Communication with you – For email correspondence with you we use encrypted email from password protected computers. Text messaging is done from password protected mobiles; your contact details on our mobiles are limited to initials and your phone number.
Session notes – Your therapist will also keep notes about your sessions. These notes will be short and factual, and will include things such as background information, key issues that have come up for you, and any concerns that your therapist might have. In accepting our offer of therapy, it is understood that you have agreed to these records being kept.
What do we use the information for?
We use information held about you in the following ways:
• To provide you with the professional service requested from us.
• To offer suitable appointments.
• To notify you about changes to your appointments and other changes to our services.
• To seek feedback from you on your experience of therapy with us.
• To improve our service to ensure that it is provided in the most effective manner for you and for us.
What information do we share?
We will not share any information about you with other organisations or people, except in the following situations:
Consent – We may share your information with professional carers or others whom you have requested or agreed we should contact.
Serious harm – We may share your information with the relevant authorities if we have reason to believe that this may prevent serious harm being caused to you or another person.
Compliance with law – We may share your information where we are required to by law or by the regulations and other rules to which we are subject.
How do we keep your information safe?
All information you provide to us is stored as securely as possible. All paper forms and correspondence are kept under lock and key. All electronic records are stored on our own computer(s), all access to which requires password-protected authentication. Unfortunately, the transmission of information via the internet is never completely secure. Although we will do our best to protect your information using industry-standard protocols and encryption, we cannot guarantee the security of your data transmitted to us via email, including forms completed on our website which are transmitted by email; any transmission is at your own risk. Once we have received your information, we will use strict procedures and security features to try to prevent unauthorised access.
Your identifiable personal information is kept separately from any session notes and other descriptive material. Client notes and other documentation are destroyed three years after the end of counselling. Personal contact details are destroyed/deleted after six years of no contact or updates.
You have the right to ask us to provide a copy of the information held by us in our records. You also have the right to require us to correct any inaccuracies in your information.
If you would like to see the information that we have about you, please speak first to your therapist. They will be able to tell you more about what is in your file and why. This is often more helpful than simply seeing the notes. After that, if you would still like to go ahead, we would need 30 days’ notice.
When contacting us about the information held by us about you via the contact form on our website, we will require ID identification to release the information to you.
You may withdraw your consent for us to hold and process your data at any time. However, if you do this while actively receiving therapy with us, your therapy would have to end. You can withdraw your consent by contacting us directly.
Acceptance of terms