Changes to the laws on Data Protection in the UK came into force on 25/5/18. These changes affect the way therapists collect and process your personal data/information in both written and electronic formats. Personal data means; contact details, (your name, address, email address and telephone number. These contact details are held together with information regarding your GP, date of birth, family members and medication history). Personal data also includes emails, voicemails, text messages and client session notes.
Client session notes can contain sensitive personal data relating to your therapy. It may include such things as marital status, gender, medical history, family details, information about racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious beliefs, trade union membership, physical or mental health, sexual life, criminal proceedings and offences. Your personal and sensitive personal data will only be used in order to provide a service to you/your child and for managing and quality assuring the service we provide.
Session notes are stored separately from contact information.
Contact information/details are stored separately from session notes. They are linked to client session notes by an identifier only. Session notes are mainly stored electronically in a password protected format. Emails, text messages and voicemails are also stored in password protected electronic format.
In order to comply with their policies and the law, therapists are required by their accrediting/ registering bodies; e.g. UKCP and BACP, their Insurer’s, and HMRC, to keep this personal data for a period of time following the end of your therapy. In the case of adults this is for a period of five years. In the case of children, therapists are required to keep this information until the child reaches the age of 25. After this time, they will ensure it is securely destroyed/ deleted.
Psychotherapy is a private and confidential form of help. Your therapist will hold information about clients in confidence. This means that your therapist will not normally give your name or any information about you to any outside agency. However, there are exceptional cases where they might ethically or legally have to give information to relevant authorities, for example, if they had reason to believe that someone, especially a child, is at serious risk of harm or to prevent a miscarriage of justice. The therapist will discuss any proposed disclosure with you unless they believe that to do so could increase the level of risk to you or to someone else.
In common with all ethically practicing psychotherapists your therapist will undertake supervision. Supervision sustains good practice and supports effective and safe work. All communications concerning clients in the context of supervision are held in confidence and kept anonymized. Supervisors are fellow professionals adhering to a code of ethics, bound by confidentiality and obliged to implement appropriate measures to ensure security of data.
When working with children, therapists will audio record work.