In order for me to be able to fulfil my responsibilities as a counsellor to you as my client, I will need to record relevant personal information about you. This information includes your name, address and contact details, including phone number and/or email address and your GP practice and any medication currently being taken.
Should we agree to work together, using an identifying code, I will also take notes of the main issues raised in each counselling session, plus aspects of your personal, social and family history that you choose to share with me which will be kept only as a paper copy in a locked filing cabinet. Personal information and client notes will be retained in separate locations keeping your name and contact details separate from the session notes. 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. We will also go through my “Counselling Agreement” which we will both sign and retain a copy each.
Even briefer session notes are uploaded in password protected files, on a password protected PC, which is only used by me, and it has a security code to access it and has up to date virus protection software installed. The uploaded anonymised session notes are held within an encrypted iCloud account and I use “two-factor authentication” to access this information so it can only be accessed on my own trusted devices which can be completely erased should they be lost or stolen.
Your full contact details will be kept by me and only stored on paper (stored in a lockable filing cabinet) and with your permission, your phone number will be stored on my Smart Phone using digital fingerprinting or code to access it, your name will not be displayed, only your client code to retain your confidentiality. Agreement on how you wish to be contacted (phone/text/email/letter) will be agreed at the initial session. Personal data such as your full name, address and current date of birth will be used to verify your identify if there is an urgent need to contact your GP, the emergency services (should the very rare occasion happen where a client collapses during a session), or if you as a client are at serious risk of harm to self or someone else, or a request for access to personal data from yourself, or your representative, or legitimate legal instrument such as a Court Order which can only be actioned by a Judge under a subpoena.
This personal information will be held for a period of three 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 will only 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. The details of this arrangement are set out in my professional will.
I have monthly professional counselling supervision and details of our work together will be shared, using your identifying code, and your first name only, with my supervisor, counselling Ethical Body for the purpose of maintaining Professional Standards and aiding my counselling professional development which is a requirement for me to work safely and ethically with my clients.
As stated above, the handwritten notes and personal details will only be held for a period of three 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.
Please sign this page to indicate that we have discussed and agreed how your personal information will be held for the purposes of counselling.
Without your agreement to my holding your personal information it will not be possible to proceed with counselling.
- This is given in full to each client and signed by the client as me as counsellor.