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. I adhere to current data protection legislation, including the General Data Protection Regulation (EU/2016/679) (the GDPR), the Data Protection Act 2018 and the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003. 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, including:
• Why I am able to process your information and what purpose I am processing it for
• Whether you have to provide it to me
• How long I store it for
• Whether there are other recipients of your personal information
• Your data protection rights.
I am happy to chat through any questions you might have about my data protection policy and you can contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. ‘Data controller’ is the term used to describe the person/ organisation that collects and stores and has responsibility for people’s personal data. In this instance, the data controller is me.
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. I have explained these below:
If you have had therapy with me and it has now ended, legitimate interest is 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. The GDPR also makes sure that I look after any sensitive personal information that you may disclose to me appropriately. This type of information is called ‘special category personal information’. The lawful basis for me processing any special categories of personal information is that it is for provision of health treatment (in this case counselling) and necessary for a contract with a health professional (in this case, a contract between me and you).
When you have your first session, I will collect the following basic information: your full name, date of birth, gender, email address, contact telephone number and an emergency contact. It is optional for you to tell me your GP’s details, any relevant medical information such as medical conditions or medication, risk factors such as alcohol and drugs or mental health risks such as suicidal thoughts or self-harm. If you decide not to proceed with sessions, I will ensure all your personal data is deleted. If in the course of our therapy sessions you tell me about incidents which may later be involved in a court case, I may in rare exceptional cases keep factual information in case I may be required to testify.
Rest assured that everything you discuss with me is confidential. That confidentiality will only be broken if there is risk of significant harm to yourself or another person, or if you tell me about serious crimes such as terrorism, drug or human trafficking or money laundering, or for public protection against infectious diseases. I will always try to speak to you about this first. I will share details about you anonymously with my private clinical supervisor on a regular basis for the purpose of professional development, but will only take your information outside of the supervisory relationship for the reasons above.
I will keep a record of your personal details to help the counselling services run smoothly. These details are kept securely in paper form only, kept in a locked file box and not shared with any third party. For security reasons I do not retain text messages for longer than the duration of the therapeutic process with you, unless there is anything which may be needed as evidence in a court case. Likewise, any email correspondence will be deleted after your therapy has ended if it is not important. Once counselling has ended your records will be kept for six months in case you wish to return or there is any other reason for keeping them. They will then be securely destroyed. If you want me to delete your information sooner than this, please tell me.
I try to be as open as I can be in terms of giving people access to their personal information. You have a right to ask me to delete your personal information, to limit how I use your personal information, or to stop me processing your personal information. You also have a right to ask for a copy of any information that I hold about you and to object to the use of your personal data in some circumstances. You can read more about your rights at ico.org.uk/your-data-matters.
If I do hold information about you I will:
• give you a description of it and where it came from
• tell you why I am holding its, tell you how long I will store your data and how I made this decision
• tell you who it could be disclosed to
• let you have a copy of the information in an intelligible form.
You can also ask me at any time to correct any mistakes there may be in the personal information I hold about you. To make a request for any personal information I may hold about you, please make the request in writing, addressing it to email@example.com
When someone clicks through to my website from third party services such as the Psychology Today directory and BACP directory, these other websites collect standard internet log information and details of visitor behaviour patterns. This information is only processed in a way that does not identify anyone. I do not make, and do not allow third party services to make any attempt to find out the identities of those visiting my website.
This privacy statement was last updated in May 2020.