The following statement has been made in compliance with the General Data Protection Register May 2018 (GDPR: it is subject to change and updates.

I am a freelance counsellor and I will request information about you that enables me to carry out my practice in a professional manner. You have a right to know how I store the information and processed.


Record and Note Keeping

After the initial enquiry and telephone call, if we can proceed, I will send you: the Important Information About You form. I will send this to you via an encrypted email. If you require online counselling, I will also send you Information About Online Counselling.

If you want in-person counselling, our first session will include an assessment. If you want online counselling, we will do the assessment via zoom.

I collect personal information about you in our initial session with your consent, to help understand the nature of the problem you are bringing. In addition to this, once we begin our sessions, I take minimal case notes for my own reference and to purposely think through your difficulties and guide you through the counselling process. They remain anonymous and are kept securely in a locked metal box in my home. I retain this information for 5 years unless it is requested by you that I destroy them prior to this time limit. None of my notes are stored electronically although text messages and emails are kept on password-protected devices.

If you decide not to proceed with me after the initial session, please let me know. The assessment form will then be securely destroyed. If your start is delayed I will keep the form for 2 months after which it is then destroyed. Should you wish to approach me for counselling after the 2-month period, the initial assessment would need to be repeated.

I am registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for the storage of personal information. If you have any concerns about my management of storage of personal information you are able to complain directly to the ICO. In the event of a breach of personal information I will contact you, the ICO and BACP within 72 hours. You have the right to request the details of any information I hold on you and this information will be provided by me in an easily accessible format within one month in accordance with the ICO guidelines.

Whilst working with you I need to keep information to fulfil my contractual commitment to you. I also have a legitimate interest to keep information for up to 5 years in relation to client information that might be needed by a court of law.


Security for Online Counselling

I want to make sure that your data is protected to prevent unauthorised access by a potential hacker. The email provider I use is end to end encrypted to ensure emails are sent safely and securely. I strongly advise you to check that your Wi-Fi is secure, ensure your devices are password protected and not left where other people can access them. I strongly advise that you use a personal computer and/or email account and that your device has anti-virus software, firewall protection and encryption. I strongly advise you to use a private Wi-Fi connection and not a public one. I cannot be held responsible for any security breaches outside my control. For video counselling I use the platform Zoom because this is encrypted and supported by my professional bodies.


What Are Your Rights?

You have the right to see the information I keep. You have the right to ask that your data be destroyed, however, should you withdraw consent I will keep minimum details that identify you for 5 years and erase all other information. You have the right to ask that your data be transferred to other services. You have the right to restrict processing where the data is inaccurate, the processing is unlawful or I no longer need the information. I will never use your client data for marketing.