As a business owner, I am registered with the ICO (Information Commissioners Office) which means I need to tell you what data I am collecting from you in session and what I intend to do with it.
If you choose to continue with therapy after our initial session, I need to collect your basic information. Name, address, contact details and GP info. I take your GP details in case I am concerned for your well being. I will however only contact your GP with your involvement.
I store my client record sheets securely and locked away in my office. Digital correspondence on my laptop and mobile phone is password protected.
I have no intention to share any of your data. I am not currently undertaking and research where data could be used. I will not sell it on or use it for unethical reasons.
I do have to share your personal data if I am order by the court, if you discuss any knowledge of murder, manslaughter, drug trafficking or current abuse.
Another incident where your data will be shared, is in the event of my death. I have appointed a Clinical Executor.
I’ll keep your session notes, your name and your unique code for 5 years which is the time frame indicated by my insurance company. I’ll shred all forms containing your personal information 1 month after our work finishes. I’ll delete your phone number out of my mobile phone, also 1 month after our work finishes.
All emails from you will be deleted as soon as they are no longer needed and at least within 1 month of us finishing our work together.
But keeping this information isn’t crucial to the way we work together. If you do not want me to keep any electronic correspondence, please state this in session and I will delete-as-we-go.
So there you have it. As counsellors, we have always been extremely focused on protecting client privacy. It has been drilled into us from Day 1 of counsellor training. As a client, you should expect nothing less.