By using the contact form on the website your email address is stored in order for it to be relayed to my email address, along with any information you submit in the contact form. It is later deleted from any online server used by the website provider.
I am not currently using an e-mail encryption programme, so any emails we send to each other may be vulnerable to viruses or human error. For this reason, it is best to be thoughtful about what you include in emails to me, and which email address you choose to use with me. Often, it is best to rely on email for non-confidential communications like arranging appointment times etc. It is beneficial to keep confidential and psychological information limited to the counselling sessions. I will always request your preferred email address from our assessment session. If you choose to communicate with me by email, please be aware that all emails are retained in the logs of Internet Service Providers. Furthermore, they can be vulnerable to viruses and unintended forwarding or replication. If you are concerned about the confidentiality of your emails, you may wish to contact me by telephone instead. I check emails only at regular times and I endeavour to respond to all emails within 24 hours upon opening them. If I am away for an extended period, such as a holiday, you will receive an automated response. In the event of an emergency, email communication is not advisable and you should contact emergency services. E-invoicing: I can send invoices as an attachment to an e-mail, please let me know if you prefer a printed copy.
Emails may also be vulnerable to hacking or miss-sending by human error. If you would prefer not to communicate by email, please let me know. Otherwise, it is best to use email only for logistical purposes (changing session times, etc.).
There is no emergency telephone/text messaging service available and contact between sessions should be primarily for arranging/cancelling sessions. This can be done via telephone not via social media messengers or Skype calls/text. Should you experience an emergency please contact either the emergency services or if you are feeling suicidal, ring The Samaritans: 116 123.
General Data Protection Regulation:
You have a right to know what information I keep about you and may request access to it at any time. In addition to the information collected on the assessment form and agreement, I may also keep notes about our sessions together. These notes are kept manually on pad and paper and are not kept alongside information that identifies you. Furthermore, they will be anonymised by not containing names, but merely information such as initials, gender and age of the person. These notes are not shared with anyone other than anonymously within supervision or other professional confidential contexts. I keep written notes in a locked filing cabinet.
Please note that under rare circumstances, notes can be subpoenaed in a court of law. It is not an ethical breach of confidentiality to disclose lawfully required information. Because of this, I try to keep my notes to a minimum, clearly stating what the client has said and which information relates to my own thoughts and feelings during the session. I will keep your notes for the period to which I am obliged which can be between 3 to 7 years, after which they will be destroyed
Please note that I keep a digital diary of appointments, which do not contain the full name but information such as initials, gender and age of the person. I also keep your contact information, email, phone number, address, and GP details in my digital contacts so I can contact you if necessary. These contacts may be vulnerable to hacking. If you prefer, I can refrain from keeping them digitally and instead keep them in a locked file.
I have a BACP registered colleague who holds contact information of clients I currently work with and they will contact clients on my behalf should I not be able to in case of sudden incapacity to work.
Disclosures for the purpose of taxation will normally only be about monetary payments without any therapeutic details of the work undertaken. The tax authorities receiving this information are bound to strict confidentiality which you can find in the HMRC Privacy Notice.
You have the right to have the information I hold about you erased. If you would like me to delete your information, let me know. However, as above, I may need to retain your notes for a required period of time, after which they will be deleted. In general, I will only hold the minimum information I need about you for my work, and will regularly audit and clear such data. I am registered with the Information Commissioners Office to hold such records.