Storage and use of 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.
Under an identifying code I will also takes 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. This information will be retained in separate folders (keeping your name and contact details apart from the assessment notes) in a locked cabinet.
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 eight 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.
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.
Information about counselling sessions and our work together
I will record notes of each therapy session under an identifying code. These notes will be brief factual record of the session. The notes are stored in a locked cabinet. They may be shared under the identifying code with my supervisor, counselling professional body or similar for purposes of maintaining professional standards.
These notes will be held for a period of eight 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. 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 on it. Both the phone and my email account is password protected.
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 me. If you are still unhappy you have the write to complain to the Information Commissioners Office.