General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
The confidentiality of your information is very important to me. Everything that you discuss with me is confidential and I will not share your information unless I believe that there is a serious risk of harm to yourself or others, or with your written consent, or when I am legally obliged to do so. I would always try to speak to you about this first unless there are safeguarding issues.
Personal information I collect in the First Session
Name/Occupation/Address/Contact number/Email/Therapy history
How I store information
I am registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) 2018, any records pertaining to our sessions will be kept confidential and held in a secure manner:
My Computer is locked using a secure password. Any stored names and contact details are in a password protected Word Pages document.
My Smartphone is locked and is only accessible using a biometric fingerprint scanner or password. I store your contact number using initials rather than a name as an identifier.
I delete emails if not specifically necessary to our work.
SMS messages are assigned to initials and not names. I periodically delete SMS messages if not specifically necessary to our work.
Website and directories – no personal information is stored other than to momentarily collect and send enquiries to my email account for initial contact purposes.
Any handwritten notes/information are kept locked and secure. Personal details such as name/contact details are kept separate from other material.
Client code and client sessional notes are anonymised by a number and are brief factual notes.
Emails – relating to organising sessions or sending useful materials. Emails are confidential; however, I am not using an email encryption programme. As a result, information shared should relate to practical matters such as session times, cancellations rather than material we would discuss in a session.
How long will you store my information for? Can I have it erased? What if it is incorrect?
I will hold information about you for as long as you receive counselling services from me and for a period following the date of your last contact with me. You have the right to ask for the information I hold for you to be erased by contacting me via email helenajbyrne’gmail.com There are circumstances under which I would need to retain some information. For example, HMRC may wish to inspect my records. In addition, my professional organisation, the BACP requires that I keep records for 3 years, these may be held for a maximum of 6 years if required by my professional insurance. All electronic enquiries are erased after 3 months. All remaining texts and contact numbers are erased 3 months following the cessation of therapy. Paper information will be shredded.
If information is to be deleted, I will do so without delay.
Whilst you are receiving counselling services from me, I will aim to keep the information I hold for you up to date. Please let me know if any changes need to be made to this information as they arise. I will aim to update your information within 72 hours.
How I may share your personal information
Supervision – I attend monthly clinical supervision to ensure my practice remains safe and ethical. Any details are shared anonymously.
Emergencies – if your health is at risk, I may share your details with a healthcare service. Where possible I will always discuss this with you first.
I may use social media sites to share or promote ideas etc. Please be aware that if you follow me on any social media sites or ‘like’ comments/post, your name will be linked or visible in the public domain.
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Changes to this policy
I will continue to revise and review this policy to reflect any necessary changes necessary