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Your privacy is important to Dundee Counselling, and we take every measure to protect your identity under the General Data Protection Regulation, securing your personal data to the best of our ability while we use it to work with you. Confidentiality and Privacy are at the very foundation of our counselling service, and we endeavor to explain how seriously we take your privacy in this notice. Dundee Counselling has a legitimate interest in processing personal data in order to provide enquirers helpful information about our counselling services. The lawful reason for Dundee Counselling to process and store client data is by obtaining your consent, which is “Best Practice” as spelled out in the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) Ethical Framework.
This policy only applies to data collected by Dundee Counselling Counsellors, student counsellors, and volunteers, and via our own forms, online booking system, and website. Third-party agents and websites linked to ours are not covered by this policy. Private Counsellors working from the offices of Dundee Counselling adhere to the policy listed here but may have additional information for their practice. If you have any queries concerning your personal information or any questions on our use of the information, please contact the owner using our contact form.
1. Data Protection Lead
1.1 The Data Protection Lead is the owner/operator – Tim Allyn. Tim Allyn is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and holds the ICO registration number: ZA142054. Every Private Counsellor working from the offices of Dundee Counsellor has their own individual ICO registration.
2. Information about you
2.1 We collect personal information from you when you enquire about our counselling services on the phone, via text/SMS, email, through our online booking system, when you make a card payment either online or in the office, or when you fill in our contact form on the website to answer your enquiry and set up an initial consultation if desired. This information may include your name, contact details, your IP address, your availability, and other relevant personal information. We request this information to help us understand your needs and to provide the best service to you (connecting you with the best-suited counsellor with Dundee Counselling). This initial contact data is deleted within 30 days if you do not use our services. If you do become a client of Dundee Counselling, then we retain the initial contact details. We also collect information provided to us when you communicate with us for any reason. This may be collected in conversations (phone or in person), emails, text/SMS, online booking system, sessions, when you fill in our ‘Client Contract’, Core Form, Intake Questionnaires, feedback forms, and other forms that may be of therapeutic benefit to you.
2.2 When you enquire about courses, workshops, talks, events, or volunteering/working for Dundee Counselling, we ask for contact details and relevant personal information from you that is needed to answer your enquiries and to keep you informed about upcoming events that may be of interest to you. This data is stored securely for as long as you agree to be kept informed of Dundee Counselling’s activities.
3. Reason for keeping Data
3.1 The lawful reason for Dundee Counselling to keep client data is to comply with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy Ethical Framework and is done through the ‘Client Contract’ where we obtain your consent. Having a counselling contract demonstrates to the client the ethical principle of “Autonomy: respect for the client’s right to be self-governing” (BACP 2018).
Dale (2003:4) states that having a contract with the client:
“.. Means that you have given the client all the information they need in order to decide whether or not to work with you. This includes your terms and conditions, and some explanation of your working style.”
Client data which consists of names, contact details (phone numbers, email address, home address), client’s GP and GP Surgery, and goals for therapy are collected on the ‘Client Contract’. Further information is often collected at the time of the initial consultation and may include: age, background, family history, ethnicity, political opinions, religious views or beliefs of a similar nature, family members and partners’ names, financial details, gender identity, sexual life, physical and mental health details, and details of past or current situations in life, work, relationships etc. These details are helpful for constructing a case conceptualization and treatment plan and every effort is made to keep all client information confidential. Client notes for aid in planning further sessions are also recorded and stored.
4. Our use of this information
4.1 Your personal information will be used to provide you counselling and to give you information relating to our services.
- To allocate you a counsellor for counselling and to offer suitable counselling appointments.
- To provide you with the professional counselling service requested from and contracted with us.
- To notify you about changes to your appointments and other changes to our services.
- To seek feedback from you on your experience of counselling with us.
- To improve our service to ensure that it is provided in the most effective manner for you and for us.
- To administer our service, including the arrangement of appointments, the handling of payments for the service, for data analysis, research, statistical and survey purposes.
4.2 We will not share any information about you with other organisations or people, except in the following situations:
- Consent – Dundee Counselling may share your information only with professional carers or others whom you have requested or agreed in writing that we should contact.
- Serious harm – Dundee Counselling may share your information with the relevant authorities if we have reason to believe that this may prevent serious harm being caused to you or another person, for example, if there is a child or adult safeguarding issue.
- Compliance with law – Dundee Counselling may share your information where we are required to by court order or lawful regulations and rules to which we are subject.
- As part of the backups of encrypted data processed and held by professional IT security companies.
- For the purposes of receiving supervision, a requirement in abiding with the BACP Ethical Framework. Process data (as opposed to factual data) is destroyed within 30 days of supervision.
5.1 We will take all reasonable precautions to prevent the loss, misuse or alteration of information you give us. Your identifiable personal information is kept separately from any session notes and other descriptive material collected during the initial consultation and subsequent sessions. Any paper records are kept in locked filing cabinets in the Dundee Counselling Offices or on the site of where the counselling took place. Any access to electronic records stored digitally is password protected and only accessed via an encrypted (secure end to end) connection. Where possible, two-step authentication access is used to provide another layer of digital security. When obtaining supervision our counsellors change the names of our clients or use only initials to protect our client’s identities.
Once a client finishes counselling, all data regarding their counselling is stored securely for 7 years and then erased / destroyed. If the client is under age 18, the client records are stored until they reach age 18 and then stored 7 more years. If the client is under age 14 then the young person’s parent or guardian must also give consent for counselling to take place.
5.2 For ease of use and compatibility, communications in connection with this service may be sent by e-mail or text/SMS, however, these are not always an encrypted form of communication and suggest you only submit information to us using an internet connection that you trust (not a public wifi service for example). If you require an encrypted form of written communication please contact us via WhatsApp or iMessage on 07592728305. E-mail, including forms submitted by our website and text/SMS, unless encrypted, is not a fully secure means of communication: any transmission is at your own risk. Whilst we endeavour to keep our systems and communications protected against viruses and other harmful effects, we cannot bear responsibility for all communications being virus-free or being intercepted by hackers.
6. Your rights over your personal data
6.1 You have the right to see the information we hold about you. You also have the right to require us to correct any inaccuracies in your information. Please email us at email@example.com and allow up to 30 days for these requests. We will do our utmost to resolve any concerns you have, but if these are not resolved to your satisfaction, you may choose to contact the ICO here.
6.2 You may withdraw your consent for us to hold and process your data at any time. However, if you do this while actively receiving counselling at Dundee Counselling, your counselling would have to end. You can withdraw your consent by contacting the owner/operator at firstname.lastname@example.org. You will be required to fill in and sign a request for erasure / deletion / destruction of personal data form and this form will be kept on record for 7 years.
Under certain circumstances, especially those outlined above in section 4.2 we may not be able to erase or destroy your records:
- If you’ve requested us to break confidentiality in order to communicate with your GP, another professional carer or another person, we may extend our data retention period for any personal data for which you’ve consented for us to share and we may not be able to erase or delete your data even if requested.
- Your disclosure of past, present or potential safeguarding issue(s) may nullify any request you ask of us to erase or destroy your personal data especially data pertaining to the safeguarding issue.
- Your disclosure of past, present or intent on future crimes may nullify any request you ask of us to erase or destroy your personal data especially data pertaining to the disclosure.
Dale, H. (2003) Making the contract for counselling and psychotherapy. Viewed on 7th October 2009 in www.bacp.co.uk
British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (2018) Ethical Framework www.bacp.co.uk