As a Counsellor I am committed to complying with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and to ensure use of your personal data will be in a responsible and secure manner. The purpose of this statement is to let you know what personal data/information I will collect and hold, why it is collected, how long it is kept and the rights you have over your own personal data. To provide Counselling services I have an interest in processing personal data and I am registered with the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO). My reference number with the ICO is
What is personal information? The Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) defines personal information that can be used to identify a living individual. Different ways of identifying an individual can include their name, address, telephone number or email address.
Why do I need to process your personal information? To ensure that I fulfil my contractual obligations to you as the Counsellor I need to be able to process your personal information. This is to first assess whether or not I am able to offer you Counselling and then to be able to deliver Counselling support to you as the Client. Secondly, I would need to process and hold certain personal information to be able to contact you (such as telephone number and email address). Furthermore, if we did agree to work together as Counsellor and Client I would need to process and hold personal to continue to contact you and to complete certain pieces of paperwork (such as assessment forms and the contract between us).
What are the laws that protect my personal information? The DPA(Data Protection) and GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) require that any collection and storage of personal information is: Processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner Collected for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes Adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary Accurate and where necessary, kept up to date Kept in a form that permits identification of information subjects for no longer than is necessary for the purposes which the personal information are processed. Processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security of the personal information.
How will I collect your personal information? To collect your personal information I will do so over the phone, in writing or via video call as we will be working remotely.
How will I store your personal information? Your personal information will be stored both electronically and physically. Personal information stored on electronic devices will be password protected (the password known only to myself) and physical paperwork copies will be kept and stored in a locked filing cabinet which will only be accessed by myself. Most of the physical copies that I store will be in a format that only I would understand (for example, instead of your name on these documents I will give you a code known only to myself).
What types of information will I collect about you? When you contact me to make an enquiry I will request (if you haven't already provided) your name, contact number and email address if you have one. When we have agreed to a consultation appointment I will then ask for your address, DOB (date of birth), the issues you would like to address in Counselling, any symptoms and your availability. If we agree that Counselling is appropriate and we agree to work together, once therapy commences I may need to ask for additional information such as emergency contact details, GP contact details, what goals you have for therapy, any current medication, any coping strategies including drug and alcohol use and any health and physical issues.
What is 'special category' information and why do I need to process this? Defined by GDPR, special category information is information that is more sensitive than other personal information which require higher levels of protection. Examples of special information could be your health, race, sexuality or religion. Article 9 of the GDPR states that for me to lawfully process special category information, it needs to be 'pursuant to contract with a health professional.' This means that if you begin Counselling with me or ask for an assessment on whether or not I am eligible to offer Counselling to you, then I may need to process special category information about you. This is usually information about your mental health.
Who will my personal information be shared with? I will only use your personal information to provide you with Counselling. I will not share your personal information with any other person or organisation without your permission or knowledge unless there is a safeguarding issue (either yourself, another adult or a child) or it is a legal requirement. This could include sharing your personal information with your GP or other healthcare professionals. In exceptional circumstances it could be a requirement of a court of law or during regular sessions with my Supervisor.
Can I ask for a copy of the personal information you store about me? If you would like to see the information I process and hold about you or you need to correct, update or delete any personal information about yourself please email email@example.com.