I am in the process of researching best practice in this area. However, be assured that this process is ongoing and this page will be updated as my knowledge of my obligations grows.
For now, you need to know that I have completed a questionnaire on the governments website www.ico.gov.uk and the finding was that while I have no legal obligations in this area, I do have an ethical duty to adhere to the principles of the legislation, and I am happy to do so.
Counselling and psychotherapy is a confidential activity. I do not share clients’ personal data with others. The exception being that if I believe that a client is at risk of seriously harming themselves, or someone else then I reserve the right to break confidentiality in order to prevent harm. The other exception is that if I am ordered to by a court of law, then I would have to.
So what information do I store? Your name, address, phone number and that of your General Practitioner are noted on paper and kept locked away separately from all other paperwork.
I do keep notes about my sessions with clients, and these are not identifiable by name, just a code that only I know. These notes are again stored on paper and are kept locked away separately. I do not keep any client records stored electronically. However clients’ phone numbers and their first name are stored on my phone and if you email me then your email address will be recorded within the hard drive of my lap top.
I will need clients’ consent to hold this information about them and you will be asked to sign for that consent at the first session if you agree to work with me.
Client’s may withdraw consent for me to hold the above information at any time and may ask for any information I hold to be sent to them. I have a duty to comply with any such request within one month.