Counselling & Psychotherapy
Information about you.
In order for me to be able to fulfil my responsibilities as a psychodynamic psychotherapist I need to record personal information about you. This information includes your name, address, contact details, and GP practice. Under an identifying code I will also take notes from our initial meeting; 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 locations; i.e separate filing cabinets each under lock and key. Thus keeping your name and contact details apart from the notes taken at our inital meeting.
If you seek therapy with me via your private health insurance I will also collect and process data such as your health insurance policy number and authorisation for psychological treatment provided by that organisation.
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 identity 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 six years after the cessation of our work together, 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 first name only and telephone number alone will be entrusted in exceptional circumstances with a professional colleague 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 our work together
I will record hand written notes of each therapy session under an identifying code. These notes will be a brief factual record of the session. 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 held in a locked drawer.
These notes will be held for a period of six years after the cessation of our work together 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.
Whilst I do discuss my work with a senior professional colleague, counselling professional body or similar for purposes of maintaining professional standards, safety and aiding my professional development I do not reveal your personal details so you cannot be identified.
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.
If any of the above circumstances arises I will discuss a proposed disclosure with you unless I believe that to do so could result in a level of risk to you or to someone else.
Records of contact between us
Should you contact me by text or by email, these records may be kept for the same duration as your session notes. In general, however, it is not my practice to retain texts on my phone or emails on my computer except where I agree with you to retain them or where I believe that it is in my professional interests to do so. My computer is password protected. Malware and antivirus protection is installed.
I will hold your initials and telephone number on my mobile phone so that I may contact you if I am delayed for any reason. Your details will be will deleted from my contact list when our therapeutic relationship ends. The phone however will retain summary records of calls made to or from your number (date and duration) and any recorded messages for three years.
My mobile phone is a smart phone and could therefore also have your texts, email and email address available on it. The phone is password protected 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. I will endeavour to provide you with the information requested within four weeks. You also have the right to ask for information that you believe to be incorrect or incomplete to be rectified. I will ensure that it is ammended within one month.
You have the right to erasure in the form of deletion or removal of personal data where there is no compelling reason for its continued processing. I reserve the right to refuse a request to delete personal information where I believe it necessary in the interests of freedom of expression and information; to comply with a legal obligation; or the exercise or defence of legal claims. In this event I will retain the original information and will include any additional/updated information you choose to share with me for your records.
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 right to complain to the Information Commissioners Office.
Your will be asked to sign a copy of this policy to indicate that we have discussed and agreed how your personal information will be held for the purposes of psychotherapy. Without your agreement to my holding your personal information it will not be possible to proceed with our work together.