LGB Rimh Counselling is committed to complying with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) enacted on May 25, 2018, and to using your personal data responsibly and securely. As a counsellor, I have a legitimate interest in processing personal data to offer counselling services. This policy is meant to provide insight into the data I gather about you, how I use it, how I preserve it, and how I share it, as part of my commitment to the privacy of current and prospective clients.
Please be aware that my website contains connections to other websites that you may find interesting. I have no control over other websites, though. Therefore, I cannot be responsible for the safety and privacy of any information you supply when visiting other sites, nor are such sites controlled by this privacy statement. You must be cautious and review their privacy policies.
What are the motives for information collection?
I may only gather personal information for appropriate and legal purposes. At each step of my interaction with you, I will only handle your data if at least one of the following requirements is met:
- To satisfy the terms of my counselling contract with you. This involves the collecting of information prior to entering into an explicit or implicit counselling agreement, as well as during and after counselling.
- To guarantee that I am providing you with a professional and ethical service in accordance with the Ethical Framework of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), of which I am a member, as well as the standards of my insurers.
- When it is my legal obligation to collect, store, utilise, or transmit information to comply with the law or a court order, I will do so.
- When it is necessary to ensure your safety, the safety of others, or my own safety.
- To track the performance of my website and/or other marketing efforts.
- To facilitate our financial transactions
How is the information gathered?
The only source of the personally identifiable information I gather, retain, and utilise is our discussions, emails, and phone calls.
The information others may possess is derived from our financial activities.
What information will you maintain regarding me?
Regardless of whether you become a customer of my counselling service, I will utilise your personal information to begin counselling with you. I gather the majority of this information during the initial contact and consultation. I will indicate whether any of this information is optional.
Requests using my website’s contact form
The Contact Form on my website captures your name, email address, and a brief explanation of the nature of your inquiry so that I may contact you to discuss counselling and/or schedule an initial visit. Inquiries sent using the contact form on my website are emailed immediately to me, and once they have been delivered, they are erased from the website’s servers.
Initial contact (face to face or telephone call)
I will gather the following information to see if I am able to provide you counselling:
- Your title
- Your contact details, including your email address.
- Upon initial contact, you may also select whether or not to provide a brief summary of your reasons for seeking counselling.
During the initial face-to-face / telephone consultation (Assessment)
At your initial consultation, I will ask for your permission to handle your data and save information on your healthcare providers (e.g. GP). In addition, I will gather the following data:
- Age at birth
- Your contact details, including your email address.
- Geographical details derived from your postcode
- Other information pertinent to you engaging in therapy with me, such as the name of your primary care physician’s office.
- Information on any handicap or communication difficulties
All customers will be assigned a unique identity code inside my personal filing system, and the aforementioned information will be maintained separate from any treatment records (counselling notes).
- After each counselling session, I record brief, factual, and anonymous notes. These are held separately and securely from any personal contact information in a secured file cabinet. Your identity is safeguarded, and I do not divulge your notes until legally compelled to do so. Private therapeutic information, such as the counselling contract, proper preparation, background information, therapeutic data, and any email correspondence that is significant to your counselling process (this is typically correspondence that you have sent to me) will be filed separately from your personal contact information.
- Information from letters, emails, texts, and phone conversations. To protect your privacy, if you contact me directly between sessions, I will acknowledge your email but discuss its contents with you at our next session.
- Information regarding Agreements and Consent, including consent letters.
- Information regarding our financial dealings
What do you do with the gathered information?
I collect this information to better comprehend your demands and supply you with a superior level of service, and in particular for the following reason:
How do you store my personal information?
I maintain data in two formats.
- Contact information is stored on a smartphone, a laptop, and in the cloud and locally.
- Emails – These are stored on a laptop, a phone, and local devices that are backed up.
- SMS Texts – These are stored on a mobile device and backed up in the cloud.
- My cell phone is password-protected, and its information is kept in the cloud so that it can be restored if it is lost or stolen.
In printed form:
- I keep all client information in a lockable file cabinet and keep your personal contact information separate from your therapy notes. The counselling notes are designated by a unique code identifier to prevent the connection of personal information.
- Correspondence; signed consents and agreements; socio-demographic data. Separate from the case notes, this is likewise kept in a secured cabinet.
- Details on financial transactions (bank statements). This is kept separately from the preceding information in a file in an unlocked cabinet.
- In whatever format, third parties may hold information.
Do you disclose my personal information?
Who may receive my personally identifiable information:
- Statutory entities when mandated to do so by statute or judicial order
- Your contacts in the event of an emergency
- When necessary to prevent harm to you, me, or others, statutory bodies
- For grounds of public importance pertaining to public health
- Coronavirus contingency clause: if I get the virus, I shall be required to disclose my contacts to the NHS. In this situation, I may be required to provide your name and contact information, but not the context in which I know you. However, the NHS might contact you.
- If you file a complaint against me, my accrediting/ethical membership organisation, insurers, and professional advisors will be notified.
- A lawyer – If your information is sought by a court or you bring a legal action against me, I may seek legal counsel to determine whether the court has jurisdiction and if the request satisfies the stringent legal requirements for such situations. In this scenario, I may contact with an attorney to assist me in making an educated decision regarding whether or not to reveal any or all of the material I possess to the court. The relevant personal information will be made available to the attorney, who will be governed by a Professional Code of Conduct.
Whom I am permitted to disclose anonymized personal information:
- To guarantee that I am practising efficiently, safely, and ethically, I must have professional supervision.
- Other therapists who are members of a professional counselling and psychotherapy organisation, such as the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), in order to receive insight and knowledge from counsellors who may have more expertise than I have.
With your agreement in writing, I may share anonymized data with:
- When attending seminars or other Continuous Professional Development activities, other counsellors
- Counseling instructors and examiners to get further credentials and certifications.
How long will my information be stored?
I will save your data for varying amounts of time depending on how it is stored.
Contact information, including email addresses, SMS messages, and calendar appointments. This information cannot be completely deleted for technical reasons and will consequently remain available to a technically savvy individual until the storage device is destroyed or properly cleaned and reformatted.
I shall keep your name and number in my mobile phone’s contact list until our counselling relationship ends, at which point I will remove it. I only retain relevant messages, such as those received by either of us in relation to your appointments.
Notes and paper copies of contact information, emails, and media generated by the author. These will be destroyed seven years after counselling has concluded. Paper information obtained during the initial session will be destroyed after 14 days if you have not contacted me to organise paid sessions.
I will never use your information for marketing purposes or contact you to advertise a service unless you have provided your express written approval.
Transmission of data outside the EU
I will not transmit your personal information beyond the EU knowingly unless:
- In order to comply with the directives of a court of law, I must.
- This is necessary to defend myself against a legal action or complaint filed by you.
Your legal rights
Unless exempted by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the following rights apply to your personal data:
- the ability to access your personal data
- the right to demand me to correct any factual errors in the data I maintain.
- the right to withdraw consent to the processing of non-essential data*
- right to seek deletion/destruction of personal data*
- the right to file a complaint with the Office of the Information Commissioners (see below)
You may withdraw permission to the use of your personal information and/or request its destruction, but this right is subject to legally prescribed limitations. You cannot demand the deletion of financial transaction records, for instance.
Concerns and Grievances
Please contact me if you have concerns about how your information is being stored.
My registration number with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is xxxxxx.
You have the right to file a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office if you are still dissatisfied.
Alterations to this policy
If I must make changes to this policy that are inconsistent with the original purposes for which your data was acquired, I will tell you as soon as feasible and provide you the option to withdraw consent for the processing of your information.