Information about you.
In order for me to be able to fulfil my responsibilities as a counsellor I will need to record personal information about you. This information includes your name, address and contact details, and GP practice. I will also take notes of ‘assessment information’, that is relevant medical information and aspects of your personal social and family history that you choose to share with me. I maintain a record of your personal information in an encrypted database, on a password protected PC which has virus protection software installed, along with a summary record of what sessions we have had and a brief summary of topics covered.
Your contact details will be used to contact you. Other personal data such as your name, address and/or date of birth will be used to verify your identify if there is a need to contact your G.P. or a request for access to personal data from yourself or your representative or legitimate legal instrument such as a court order.
This personal information will be held for a period of three years after the cessation of our counselling relationship, except where there is a mutually agreed decision to retain it for longer or where I believe that it is in my best professional interests to do so. I may, however, retain indefinitely a record of your name (only), and the period during which counselling took place. I may also retain indefinitely, but anonymously, record of our session dates, times and topics for appropriate professional purposes (e.g. recording of counselling hours for Accreditation purposes).
Your contact details alone will be shared in exceptional circumstances with my supervisor or other named agent in the event that I am incapacitated so that they can contact you to explain the situation. The details of this arrangement are set out in my professional will.
Information about counselling sessions and our work together
Also I will record notes of each therapy session under an identifying code. These notes will be brief factual record of the session and will include no information that could be used to personally identify you. This set of notes will include any agreements made with regard to for example, cancelled sessions or changes to the way the therapy is conducted. The notes are handwritten and retained in a secured location.
These notes may be shared under the identifying code with my supervisor, counselling professional body or similar for purposes of maintaining professional standards and aiding my professional development.
These notes will be held for a period of three years after the cessation of counselling except where I agree with you to retain them for longer or where I believe that it is in my best professional interests to do so.
I may make information from these notes available to legitimate third parties under the following conditions:
• Receipt of a request from you or your representative, and where the release of the notes is not judged by me as likely to cause you significant harm or harm to another person
• Where there is a specific legal requirement for me to do so
• Where there is an ethical duty for me to do, for example to avoid serious harm to yourself or another person, including the safeguarding of children or vulnerable adults.
Records of contact between us
I will hold your name and telephone number on my mobile phone until our counselling relationship ends and then I will delete it from my contact list. However the phone will retain summary records of calls made to or from your number (date and duration) and any recorded messages for three years.
If we agree to communicate by text or by email, these records may be kept for the same duration as your counselling notes. My mobile phone is a smart phone and could therefore also have your texts, and email and email address available on it. The phone is secured appropriately (currently with passwords and biometric information) and details are stored in ‘the cloud’ so they can be restored if my phone is lost or stolen.
You have the right to ask to see any information held by me about you. To do this please either ask me or submit a request in writing. You also have the right to ask for information that you believe to be incorrect to be rectified. I will endeavour to provide you with the information requested within four weeks.
If I become aware of a situation where your personal information may have accidently or maliciously been obtained by a third party I will notify you within three days.
If you are concerned about the way that your information is being held please discuss this with your me. If you are still unhappy you have the write to complain to the Information Commissioners Office.