If you are a client of mine for counselling or supervision, I ask you for a contact number. Sometimes we also have each other’s email address. I will only ever use these details to contact you about the work we are doing, or have done together—for instance, if we need to rearrange a session, or if you need details about when we met for, say, an insurance claim.
As part of making sure I work with you in the best possible way I can, I keep brief notes about our sessions. No-one else sees the notes, and your name doesn’t appear on them (only initials). You have the right to see them at any time. I keep them for 3 years after we’ve finished working together, but you can ask me to destroy them sooner if you’d like to.
In the light of the Data Protection Act 2018, I’m making it explicit that:
- I am registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office.
- Your name, phone number and email address (if I have it) are written in my diary. Your first name is stored in my mobile phone along with your number. No-one else has access to the diary, nor to the phone, which is password-protected. Your email address is also stored in my Google contacts. The Google account is security protected.
- My notes are paper only (nothing on the computer/in the cloud), and are in locked storage (for which I have the only key) in my house. These notes are kept separately from your name and contact details.
- In accordance with the recommendations of the BACP, I have an arrangement with a fellow-counsellor which allows her to get in touch with my current clients if I have an accident or illness, or if I die. This is to make sure that I don’t just “disappear” when I’m working with you. Monthly, I update the colleague with names and contact details of current clients. This information is stored, on paper only, in a locked cabinet. The paper copy does not identify me, nor give any means of connecting you with me or the colleague. If you would rather I did not do this in your case, let me know.
If you have any questions about any of this, please feel free to ask.