Is counselling confidential?
Confidentiality in counselling is very important. Only in very rare circumstances would confidentiality need to be broken and only after talking this through with the client. These circumstances would relate to a situation where a person was at serious risk of harming themselves or another person (note this about active intent to commit suicide or seriously hurt another person)
There are legal exceptions to confidentiality and these are
- Disclosures around acts of terrorism
- Disclosure around drug money laundering.
Breaking confidentiality is very rare.
How clear do I need to be ?
Sometimes we can’t put our finger on what’s causing our difficulties but we know that we are feeling out of sorts, anxious, depressed or unable to manage in one way or another. I will help you understand what is behind these symptoms and then look to address that.
Who are the BACP?
The British Association for Counsellors and Psychotherapists (BACP) is a professional body and a registered charity that sets standards for therapeutic practice and provides information for therapists, clients of therapy, and the public.
Do I need therapy or medication?
Maintaining stability can be very difficult in our present-day world when we can easily lose jobs, health, family or close relatives, and finally our dreams and hopes. Unfortunately many people who cannot maintain their emotional states and suffer from anxiety or depression or are not able to control their anger can end up with physical symptoms, such as digestive problems, difficulties with sleeping, various pains (e.g. headaches), heart problems etc.
Many would be supported by their GP’s so it is advisable to seek medical attention. Medication can be effective for more severe symptoms of anxiety, depression and common mental health issues. Doctors may offer medications to treat emotional issues (e.g. anti-depressants).
However, research shows that therapy is comparably successful and effective and can work hand in hand with medication in treating anxiety and depression.
Very often we are not aware of our emotions and we are unable to name them. Therapy is definitely the right place (possibly one of the best) where we can learn more about ourselves and our feelings. It could be essential to find the root causes of our painful emotions and recurrent emotional states, especially if they are intense or long-term.
Any personal data provided by you or anyone else making a referral on your behalf through any means (verbal, written, in electronic form) 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 for the purposes for which you have given consent, to provide the services you have requested from me.
I am committed to protecting your privacy.
When you request counselling with me, you will be asked to consent to my processing of your data under the terms of this policy.
What information do I collect?
Counselling Requests– Contacting me to request access to my counselling service can be done via telephone, email, or in person. Any emails, text messages or voicemail messages will be deleted once contact has been made and we begin working together.
Initial Assessment Appointments & Referral Forms –prior to commencing sessions I send out a referral form for you to complete and return along with a working agreement that sets out how we will work together in a contract. At the initial assessment appointment I ask about your current personal, social and medical circumstances. I may also ask about your background and family history, as well as the issues which are affecting you now. I require this information so that I can decide if I am able to offer the counselling that you need or whether you may need more specialist help. This information is then stored securely in a locked filing cabinet separately from any of your session notes. These will be shredded 3 years from your last appointment.
Session notes – I will keep very brief notes related to the time that I have spent with you during each session in order to provide the most appropriate therapy/intervention for you. These will be anonymised and coded so that you are not identifiable- your name is not used. These are stored in a secure locked filing cabinet separately from your initial assessment notes, referral forms and contracts. These will be shredded 3 years from your last appointment.
What do I use your information for?
I use information held about you in the following ways:
– To offer suitable counselling appointment times.
– To notify you about changes to your appointments.
– To seek feedback from you on your experience of counselling with me.
– To contact your GP or next of kin if you were to become unwell during a session.
What information do I share?
I will not share any information about you with other organisations or people, except in the following situations:
Consent –I may share your information with professionals involved in your care or others whom you have requested or agreed I should contact with your explicit consent.
Serious harm –I may share your information with the relevant authorities if I have reason to believe that this may prevent serious harm being caused to you or by you to yourself or to another person.
Compliance with law –I may share your information where I am required to by law or by the regulations and other rules to which I am subject.
How do I keep your information safe?
All information you provide to me is stored as securely as possible. All paper forms and correspondence are kept in locked filing cabinets at my home.
Unfortunately, the transmission of information via the internet is never completely secure. Although I will do my best to protect your information I cannot guarantee the security of your data transmitted to me via email, any transmission is at your own risk. This goes for Skype sessions as well- online privacy via Skype is beyond my control however I will maintain confidentiality as far as is in my control.
Mobile phones – Your phone number will be kept securely in my phone which is password protected and your details inputted in such a way that you cannot be identified. Any messages will be deleted once received and read.
Your identifiable personal information is kept separately from any session notes and other descriptive material. Client notes and other documentation are destroyed 3 years after the end of counselling.
You have the right to ask me to provide a copy of the information held by me in my records. You also have the right to require me to correct any inaccuracies in your information. You may withdraw your consent for me to hold and process your data at any time. However, if you do this while actively receiving counselling from me, your counselling would have to end.
Changes to this policy
I may edit this policy from time to time. If I make any substantial changes I will notify you immediately.
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