Privacy Statement & Risk Assessment

The following statement will be discussed at our assessment session and a consent form will be signed to show your agreement to the way your information is kept, how it is processed, how long it is kept for and for what purposes.

Privacy Statement

In order for me to be able to fulfil my responsibilities as a Counsellor I will need to record personal information about you. This information includes your name, address, phone number, email address, contact person with phone number and GP Practice. I will also take assessment information which will include relevant medical information and aspects of your education, personal and family history that you choose to share with me. This information is retained in a locked filing cabinet. Your contact details will be used to contact you. Other personal information such as your name, address and date of birth may be used to verify your identity if there is a need to contact your GP or a request for access to personal data from yourself, or your representative or legitimate legal instrument such as a court order.

This personal information will be held for a period of 7 years after the cessation of our counselling relationship, except where there is a mutually agreed decision to retain it for longer. If I am working with a child, under the age of 18, the information will be held until they are 25 years of age. If the work continues beyond the age of 18 the information is held for 7 years, which may go beyond their 25th birthday.

In the event of my incapacitation or death your contact details will be available to my Supervisor who will use them to advise you of the situation.

I record notes of the therapy session using a reference number. These are brief, factual notes of the session. These will include a record of any cancelled session. The notes are held in a locked filing cabinet and kept separate from your contact details.

These notes may be shared with my Supervisor or counselling professional body but only your first name is used to protect your identity. This is for the purpose of maintaining professional standards and aiding my professional development.

In exceptional circumstances, I may need to contact my insurance company and provide client information. Consequently, full client information and details may need to be provided if the situation warrants it, for example if there is a possibility of a claim or a complaint. My Supervisor will then have access to this information as well.

Confidentiality will be broken, if necessary, for reasons of public interest in the area of public health.

These notes will be held for a period of 7 years after the cessation of our counselling relationship, except where there is a mutually agreed decision to retain it for longer. If I am working with a child, under the age of 18, the information will be held until they are 25 years of age. If the work continues beyond the age of 18 the information is held for 7 years, which may go beyond their 25th birthday.

I may make information from your notes available to legitimate third parties under the following conditions:

  • Receipt of a request from you or your representative, and where the release of the notes is not judged by me to as likely to cause you significant harm or harm to another person
  • Where there is a legal requirement to do so. For example if I am given a court order to supply information
  • If a disclosure is made by you with regard to knowledge of, or participation in, acts of terrorism, drug money laundering or failure to report a road traffic accident
  • Where there is an ethical duty for me to do so, for example to avoid serious harm to yourself or another person, including the safeguarding of children or vulnerable adults.
  • Confidentiality will be broken, for reasons of public interest, in the area of public health

Records of contact between us

I will hold your name and contact details on my phone until our counselling relationship ends and will delete it from my contact list after one year. However, the phone will retain summary records of calls/texts made to or from your number and any recorded messages for the period of its data storage life.

If we agree to communicate by text or email, these records may be kept for the same duration as your counselling notes. My mobile phone is a smart phone and may therefore have your texts, emails and email address on it. The phone is password protected. Emails are stored in ‘the cloud’ so they can be restored if the phone is lost or stolen. If the phone is lost or stolen the information held on you will be restored via the back- up system of ‘the cloud’.

Your name, contact details and email address may also be used for invoicing purposes.

If we meet via the online platform ‘Zoom’ no recording of the session will take place by either party.

Your rights

You have the right to see any information about you. Please ask me directly or submit a request in writing. You also have the right to ask for information that you believe to be incorrect to be rectified. I will endeavour to provide you with the information within 4 weeks of the request.

If I become aware of a situation where your information may have accidentally or maliciously been obtained by a third party, I will notify you within three days.

If you are concerned about the way that your information is being stored please discuss it with me.

If you are still unhappy you have the right to complain to the Information Commissioners Office where I am registered.
Risk Assessment

Within an Independent Counselling Practice working with risk is an everyday consideration. It is a dynamic process which should be constantly reviewed and monitored. Risk is in relation to the Counsellor, the client and the parent/caregiver and concerns the environment and personal safety of all parties present within the relationship. The table shown below is reviewed by myself before I begin a new counselling relationship.

Where an answer of ‘no’ is given I will consider if action needs to be taken and if the risk is low, medium or high.

Low risk: There is minimum risk of harm. Be mindful that circumstances can change, keep a record
Medium risk: Some risk is identified but serious harm is unlikely to take place, issues can be addressed through change or within sessions, keep a record
High risk: Risk of harm is identified. The potential event could happen at any time and the impact could be serious. If within the environment effect a change immediately. If within a relationship contact will be made with the my Supervisor/emergency services/GP/parent/carer, as appropriate. A record will be kept.

 

  Yes/No/
Actioned and in place
Date to be reviewed
if appropriate
The environment    
Is the smoke alarm working?    
Do I have appropriate signage in place regarding No Smoking/No vaping?    
Are the plug sockets safely covered?    
Have any sharp corners been made safe?    
Are there any trip hazards?    
Can my client safely access toilet facilities?    
Are the creative materials used safe for my client’s age?    
The Counsellor, Michele Blockley    
Am I well enough to practise in line with my ethical framework?    

 

Am I in regular contact with my Supervisor?    
Do I allow myself time to reflect on each client within a reasonable time frame?    
Have I allowed enough time between clients to sanitise the room to an acceptable standard?    
Do I have a lone worker policy?    
Do I have adequate insurance in place?    
Do I have an adequate method of recording my concerns where I can justify my actions?    
Contact between myself (Counsellor) and the parent/carer    
Do I have a procedure in place to alert the emergency services if my personal safety is threatened?    
Am I perceived as a threat by anyone present?    
Does the person have unrealistic expectations of the meeting?    
Have I felt anxious in the presence of this person before?    
Am I aware of any medical condition of the person which could result in a lack of self control?    
Am I aware of any allegation making made by the person?    
Has a contract between both parties been agreed and signed with full understanding of confidentiality and the exceptions to it?    
Can I contact the parent/carer in case of emergency and expect a prompt response?    
Have we agreed a toileting policy?    
Have we discussed how we will proceed in the event of a public health emergency?    
Have we discussed and agreed the hygiene protocol in place following the Covid 19 pandemic?    
Contact between myself (Counsellor) and the client    
Have I considered the ‘Gillick competency’ measure in working with my client?    
Do we have an agreement in place to keep ourselves, each other and the room, safe?    
Do I feel safe in the presence of the client?    
Does the person have unrealistic expectations of the work together?    
Has the person attacked me or others in the past?    
Does the person perceive me as a threat?    
Does the person suffer from a medical condition that may result in loss of self control?    
Have we discussed how we will proceed in the event of a public health emergency?    
Have we discussed and agreed the hygiene protocol in place following the Covid 19 pandemic?    
Has a contract been agreed and signed, with the client’s full understanding of confidentiality and the exceptions to it?    
The Client    
Has the client verbalised thoughts of suicide?    
Has the client a plan in place to take his/her own life?    
Has the client attempted suicide before?    
Has the client self- harmed?    
Is the client currently self- harming?    
Has the client thought of harming another person?    
Has the client harmed another person?    
Has the client a history of sexual abuse?    
Has the client disclosed current sexual abuse?    
Has the client a history of physical abuse?    
Has the client disclosed current physical abuse?    
Has the client a history of emotional abuse?    
Has the client disclosed current emotional abuse?    
Do I consider the client to be a risk to public safety?    
Is the client exhibiting any adverse health signs which may put the counsellor at risk of infection?    
Is the client exhibiting any adverse health signs which may warrant an immediate termination of the session and for the counsellor to consider contacting subsequent clients until a deep clean of the room occurs?    

 

Updated 24.8.2020