Counselling is confidential. This means I will not share information about you with a third party unless you consent to that disclosure. So I will not tell anyone that you attend counselling, or what you say in our sessions, without your permission to do so.
There are circumstances when I might have no choice but to share information about you, even if you do not agree to this happening. These are:
if there is a serious concern for your or someone else’s safety, particularly if a child is at risk of serious harm;
if there is a legal obligation relating to your involvement in, or knowledge of, a serious crime;
if there is a court order requesting information about you;
if it is essential to prevent a serious and imminent threat to either public health or national security.
Where possible, though, I will always seek your consent before any disclosure.
During video call sessions, I will be in a room where you can not be overheard or seen on my screen by anyone else. (For your own safety and privacy, I recommend you do the same.) I do not record the sessions.
While video call platforms offer degrees of security and encryption, it is impossible to guarantee how the companies providing these services will handle data relating to the counselling sessions. I do not store your name in my digital address book but with a service such as Zoom or Whereby, the operating system might recognize your number and link it to emails or texts we have exchanged.
I talk regularly to another experienced counsellor about my work. In the counselling and psychotherapy professions, this is called ‘supervision’ and is a form of confidential consultative support. If I discuss your sessions with my supervisor, then I will not use your name or otherwise knowingly identify you.
I use some social media for my work, but I will not search for you or ‘follow’ you on any platform. If you follow me and the things you read raise questions for you, please feel free to ask me about them in our sessions. If you comment on any of my social media posts, I will not reply there, but we can always talk about it when we next meet.
To begin working together, I will record your name and preferred contact details (for example, telephone number, email address). I use this information only for essential administrative tasks: contacting you and arranging appointments. I do not share it with others without your consent unless I am legally or ethically required to do so, as in the confidentiality statement above.
During our work, you might verbally share a range of sensitive personal information, but I do not routinely record it. I might sometimes make brief notes about our sessions but these are kept separately from your contact details and are anonymized and stored within the Electronic Health Record System that I use.
I will delete your contact details when counselling ends and once all fees are paid. All digital records are stored in the Electronic Health Record System (OwlPractice). Any other personal data I have recorded or is contained in documents given to me by you or third parties during our work will be stored securely in a locked filing cabinet and kept for a maximum of 6 years, then deleted.
Last Updated: December 15, 2022.
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