Face to face, telephone, email, instant messaging or webcam counselling
Face to face, telephone, email, instant messaging or webcam counselling
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 bereavement support 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 I do
I offer bereavement counselling to help people work through their grief after, or before, the death of a human being, and I offer bereavement support (more like a chat), for the death, of expected death of an animal.
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 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 have a contact page on my website, but I do not have a contact form. 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 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 – (please see the section, Codes of Ethics, below)
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 advance, and in writing.
Codes of ethics
I hold the following professional memberships:
- Registered Member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (MBACP), number 157344
- Accredited member of the National Counselling Society, number NCS19-08202
Both the BACP and the NCS hold a register of qualified counsellors, each of which is regulated by the Professional Standards Authority, which oversees the health and care professions.
- member of the Association for Counselling and Therapy Online, (ACTO), number 499, having been trained in online counselling skills and practice by an ACTO approved training provider
As such, my counselling/support practice is governed by the following codes of ethics:
As part of these codes, 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, for example, to go back to a page or an online form that you were filling in, or will remember your login details or preferences for a website 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 bodies – the BACP, NCS, or ACTO. My membership numbers for each organisation are listed above (see Codes of Ethics section above).
Copyright © 2019  Angela Fletcher
Bereavement counselling and support