Counselling & Psychotherapy Limited
What is the General Data Protection Regulations, 2018 (GDPR) and how does it affect me?
The GDPR replaces the 1998 Data Protection Act to ensure your personal and sensitive, confidential data is kept private and held securely, being processed in the way that you have agreed to. It is there to protect your rights as a consumer of a service or product that might involve your identifiable data, e.g. your name and address or whether you have a specific condition. It also covers any session records, text messages or emails we exchange.
How long will you hold my information for?
We are regulated by the BACP, NCS, UKCP and UPCA and insured by Oxygen, and am consequently regulatory bound to hold your data for 10 years* after your final session. This is unless you are a child, in which case we must hold your data until your 25th birthday. If you are 17 when treatment ends we must keep your data until your 26th birthday. All records will be deleted in the January after the above retention scales. This is in line with wider NHS regulations for holding data.
What if I don’t want my records to be held for that long?
Under the GDPR you can make a request in writing to your therapist, for all your records to be deleted. In this case all your paper records would be shredded with a cross shredding machine and any electronic data such as emails or text messages would be permanently deleted from the devices they are stored on. We would have to save the request for deletion you made but would not save any other data.
In some circumstances our insurance companies legal team may want to verify information we process.
Why do you need to record this information?
We collect information about; why you are using the service, a small amount of medical information and a small amount of information about your important others, alongside brief session notes. This information enables us to provide a high quality service to you, ensuring we are equipped with the knowledge of our previous discussions prior to each session. Your contact details / address and other details will only be used with your explicit consent. Please see the consent form below.
We also have some third party services that collects information that cannot identify you, when you visit our website. This lets us know how many visitors visit the website, what country they are from, and how long they spend visiting the website.
What lengths are made to ensure my information is held securely?
Hardcopy documents – Are all stored in a locked cabinet in a locked room.
Text messages – Our work phones are secured with a pin code.
Emails – Our email accounts requires a user name and password and are encrypted.
Email attachments – Any attachments sent by email to you containing your personal information would be password protected and the password would be sent to you via text message.
Is what we discuss kept confidential?
Everything we talk about during our sessions are strictly confidential between you and me. To ensure we are doing our job effectively and that we have the right support, we may discuss elements of our sessions with our clinical supervisors. During these discussions we do not disclose any details that may identify you to our supervisor, who also adheres to GDPR.
What if we see you outside of the session?
If we see each other outside of a session we may smile but will not engage in any further conversation to ensure your confidentiality. You are welcome to share with other people about the therapy you are receiving, but we are obligated by GDPR law to ensure your confidentiality is protected.
We would request that, in order to ensure the success of your treatment, you refrain from discussing your treatment with your therapist outside of your sessions.
What about other Health and Social Care Professionals?
As we adhere to the GDPR any contact, relating to you, with other health care professionals would only be made with your signed consent. e.g. If we were to write to your GP to notify them of your treatment with us, and then notify them of the treatment ending, we would only do this if you were to sign the specific consent for this at the end of this document. We will also ask you to sign a copy of the document to confirm that you agree to the details contained in the document, before it is then shared.
In order to safeguard you and the people around you, if you were to disclose that you were going to carry out harm to yourself or someone else, then under our “Duty of Care” we are obligated by law to inform the relevant authorities. This is to support you to live well, and we would always aim to discuss this with you prior to contacting anyone.
If we were to be issued with a police warrant or court order for your information, by law we would also have to provide them with your information.