Who I am
My name is Angela Fletcher, and I am a BACP registered counsellor. I am the data controller and data processsor for my counselling practice.
This privacy notice lets you know how I collect, use and keep my client’s personal information safe. If, as a client or prospective client, you have any queries about this Privacy Notice, please get in touch with me via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
What personal data I collect
As a counsellor, I keep records about the clients I work with. All of my records are kept securely, and are only seen by myself. They are subject to the GDPR – General Data Protection Regulation, May 2018. I keep my records for a period of 7 years, starting from the end of our counselling sessions, with under 18’s this being from the point at which they turn 18. I keep them for this long for insurance and tax return purposes. After that time period, I then destroy my notes.
The ways in which people can contact me are via mobile phone – calling me or sending me a text, or email. I do not have a contact form on my website. The data I collect and store electronically is the following:
- client name
- email address (if used in communicating with me)
- mobile phone number (if used in communicating with me)
- start date of sessions
- end date of sessions
- number of sessions completed
- any other information that a client or prospective client chooses to give me, such as where they live
- main presenting issues
- any specific methods used in the counselling, such as empty chair, drawing a time line
I store all emails I receive, in folders on my personal computer. I keep any texts on my mobile phone. Clients should therefore be aware of this when disclosing personal information to me. After a client session, I may record hand-written notes about facts that a client has told me during a session. I store these notes and anonymously and securely in a filing cabinet. I take all reasonable measures to ensure the security of my mobile phone and personal computer.
Why I collect client’s personal data
I keep the information listed above, for the following reasons:
- essential record-keeping, such as recording the start and end date of sessions
- to keep you safe – if I believe that you or someone else is at risk of serious harm
- to aide me in remembering details about your case for our ongoing sessions
- to aide me in remembering details about your case when discussing client sessions with my supervisor – as part of the BACP’s Ethical Framework, I am required to discuss my cases with my supervisor (anonymously)
Counselling is a confidential service and therefore my records are confidential. This means that I will not usually give any details about you, or our counselling sessions to anyone else. However, there may be exceptional cases where I may have to share this information, and breach this confidentiality, for example:
- if I believe from what you have told me, that either you or yourself is at risk from serious harm, or to prevent a serious miscarriage of justice. In this case, I will suggest that we share that information with a 3rd party, such as the police or health professional. I will usually ask your permission to do so, but if I suspect that this will increase the risk to yourself or others, I will breach our confidentiality without your consent
- if the police, or a court asks for access to my records, in which case I will seek advice from both my supervisor and insurance company before deciding whether to abide by the order or not
In addition, if you ask me to, I will share your notes with medical professionals, the police or other agencies. I will only do this if you make such a request to me in writing.
Code of ethics
As a counsellor who is a member of the BACP, I am required to comply with the BACP’s Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions. As part of this code, I am required to discuss my cases with a counsellor trained to supervise other counsellors – my supervisor. As stated above, client information is usually confidential, and also counselling is usually conducted with one client working with one supervisor (apart from, for example, couples or family therapy).
The main way therefore, in which a counsellor’s work is overseen, and the counsellor’s responses are checked for being ethical and subject to good practice, is by the counsellor discussing the details of the issues covered in counselling sessions, along with their responses, to another trained and experienced counsellor, who is also trained in supervising other counsellors. This is to try to provide the best support possible to each client.
What rights you, as my client have over your data
As part of your rights under the General Data Protection Regulation (May 2018) , you are entitled to make a subject access request to see what information I hold about you. You also have the right to ask for corrections to be made to it. I will not charge you for making such requests. I will however, ask you for proof of your identity. The information I will give you is as follows:
- the reasons for my collecting, processing, using and storing your data
- where I obtained the information that I have about you from (if it was not obtained from you)
- who I have sent your data to
- how long I intend on storing your personal information for, and why
You can make a subject access request to me via email, using this email address: email@example.com
When you visit this or other websites, they will place a small amount of data, stored in a text file called a ‘cookie’ onto your computer. A cookie will help you go back for example to a page or an online form that you were filling in, or remember your login details for a website, or preferences that you have voluntarily given whilst using that website.
Feedback and complaints
If you wish to give me any feedback about the service I offer, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you wish to make a complaint about the service I offer, I would be grateful if you could contact me in the first instance, to give me the opportunity to try to resolve your grievance. If you feel unable to do so, or feel that you do not wish to contact me about it, please contact my governing body, the BACP. My registered BACP membership number is 157344.