I am registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) reference number: ZB100670.
During the course of our interactions I may collect, process and store the following personal;
- date of birth
- telephone/SMS number
- email address
- medical details or conditions relevant to counselling
- emergency contact details.
When you enquire about Counselling (whether via the website or otherwise), we ask for contact details and relevant personal information from you that is needed to answer your enquiries and to keep you informed.
Your email address and correspondence will be stored in my email account (currently Gmail) when you contact me. Your telephone number may be stored in my phone should we agree to exchange messages this way. Electronic correspondence will also be held by the corresponding app (Gmail, SMS).
Communications in connection with my service may be sent by email. For ease of use and compatibility, most communications will not be sent in an unencrypted form. Once you have agreed to work with me your personal information will be sent via the encrypted email service ‘Hushmail’ I endeavour to keep our systems and communications protected against viruses and other harmful effects, but cannot bear responsibility for all communications being virus-free .
None of your personal information is stored on my website, save for momentarily when the enquiry form is completed and sends the information to my Gmail email account. This is only for the purposes of our initial contact. Following this all other correspondence is either via telephone, email or SMS.
I keep hard copy written / printed notes in the course of my service. These include;
- referral emails
- contact sheet
- our contractual agreement
- brief written session summaries (which are anonymised)
All written / printed documents are kept in a metal locked filing cabinet.
Once you finish counselling, all data regarding your counselling (your file) is stored securely for 7 years (in the case of minors 5 years after their 18th Birthday) and then destroyed. It is a legal requirement to keep the data for that period of time and then to destroy it.
Processing / Sharing your Personal Information
Your data will be used only to provide you with services, and to give you information relating to my therapy services. I will not share your details with any other person or organisation without your knowledge and permission unless there is a legal requirement as outlined in the counselling contract.
If your health is in jeopardy (provided I have your prior consent) I may share your contact information with an emergency healthcare service (e.g., NHS emergency services). If I have become aware of your intent to cause harm to another person/organisation (e.g., terrorism), the law may require that I inform an authority without seeking your permission. In such a situation, the law may require that I share your personal information without your knowledge.
I seek monthly professional supervision with another qualified therapist. This process is in line with British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP) professional requirements. This process is for my practice (rather than seeking instruction regarding my work with you.). I may refer to you by your first name and I may refer to your information. This is a confidential process and accords with my professional duties to maintain high quality counselling standards.
Your name and contact details will be shared with my Therapeutic Executor. This is so that you will be contacted in the event of my sudden death if we are still working together. This accords with industry norms and ensures high quality standards of service to the client.
I will take all reasonable precautions to prevent the loss, misuse or alteration of information you provide. Security measures in relation to the storage of data are outlined above.
I offer online individual therapy via the Zoom platform which is a secure, confidential and reliable video software platform. You may want to learn more about this platform here: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/206618765-Zoom-video-tutorials.
Although I aim to provide the highest practical levels of client confidentiality protection by using end to end encryption and using services that are Healthcare Insurance and Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliant, I am unable to guarantee complete confidentiality under all circumstances. Monitoring or intrusion by state agencies or by computer service providers operating under state direction may in certain jurisdictions pose a threat to client confidentiality.
Computer systems are typically designed to share information with others and often ask you to trade convenience for confidentiality. If you are concerned about your privacy, I suggest that you only use private secured networks when possible and avoid shared connections. Turn off or disable any unnecessary applications, particularly those that may frequently connect to the internet. Ensure that your computer is regularly checked for computer viruses and spyware. Please do not share meeting links, devices or passwords with others. If you feel comfortable doing so, I recommend wearing headphones.
Further information about online security can be found on the Information Commissioner’s Office Website: https://ico.org.uk/your-data-matters/online/.
The therapeutic work being undertaken is governed under the Laws and Ethical Guidelines of the UK (my country of residence). This statement will be given to all new clients by email prior to our first meeting for counselling. We will not work together if you are unhappy about any of the details I have provided in this statement. It is the client’s responsibility to raise any concerns with me prior to this.
How to complain about privacy
If you have any concerns about our use of your personal information, you can make a complaint to me using the contact details advertised on my website. You can also complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office if you are unhappy with how I have used your data.
The ICO’s address:
Information Commissioner’s Office
Helpline number: 0303 123 1113
ICO website: https://www.ico.org.uk