Confidentiality, Security, and Data Protection
The content of your emails or online appointments will not be communicated with a third party except for the purposes of supervision of my work. In this instance, your identity will not be revealed, and the presenting issues are discussed in a general context, to help ensure I am working ethically and safely with clients. I strongly recommend that online clients use an encrypted email server for sending and receiving email exchanges when engaging with counselling, this helps to ensure that our communication will not be intercepted by a third party.
Where a complaint is made by a client to my professional body, I reserve the right to breach confidentiality and to use my session notes in order to address any grievances which might occur within the counselling practice. Wherever possible you will be informed of this.
At the end of our counselling agreement copies of our exchanges will be stored securely offline for a period of 7 years and then destroyed by shredding after this time. I am a registered Data Controller and Data Processor and abide by the regulations imposed by such procedures. My registration number is: ZA800709. Mark Fielding has a policy for data processing and storage. The procedures in this document have been compiled in relation to GDPR (General Data Privacy Regulations) from May 26th 2018 onwards.
All sessions are conducted in strictest confidence with confidentiality being maintained unless:
- The client gives consent for the confidence to be broken
- The therapist is compelled by a court of law to break the confidence
- The therapist believes that the client is at risk of seriously harming
themselves or others
- Disclosure in the public interest, based on the common law, are made
- where this is essential to prevent a serious and imminent threat to public health, national security, the life of the individual or a third party, or to prevent or detect serious crime
- On line therapy is via Zoom 5.0 using Zoom’s AES 256-bit GCM encryption. By agreeing to the counseling contract you are providing consent to using this platform for online therapy
What information is kept about me and who has access?
As the Data Controller and data Processor I maintain and store brief notes relating to your sessions. I will not share this data with someone other than yourself, unless required by a court of law. Under GDPR you have the right to request a copy of session records. Where requested by you these will be within 30 days in electronic format, Under GDPR you have the right to ask for records to be amended if you feel they are inaccurate. If you wish to ask for an amendment or if you raise objection to any data kept by me, such objection will be stored with the original session notes.
If you have made contact for counselling and complete this form, but decide not to proceed this form will be deleted from my system and email account., along with any electronic communication we have shared.
I will not use your data to send unsolicited emails.
How is my information stored?
The client agreement /assessment form you complete and any brief session notes will be stored on an external hard drive which is password protected. I keep brief paper notes and these are stored in a locked filing cabinet and are anonymised - all identifying material is removed from the document.
Any electronic contact we have during the process of assessment and ongoing sessions will be deleted from my computer at the end of our agreed work together.
After a period of 7 years from completion of your counselling any records from our work together will be deleted from my system and all session notes deleted. For insurance purposes I am required to keep them for this time period.
My websites are hosted by a company called Counselling Directory and Webhealer who adhere to requirements of GDPR.
Guidelines to help maintain your privacy for sessions
It is important that you consider privacy when receiving counselling online. To help ensure this it is very important you have a place where you will not be disturbed, where others cannot view your phone or laptop screen, and you can’t be overheard. Always leave the device you access your counselling from secured and password protected and do not share your password with others. I also recommend you delete any email exchanges between us or texts after you have accessed them, to help maintain privacy.
Guidelines for Emergency Contact
Online counselling cannot provide an emergency service for clients.
In the event of an emergency arising whilst you are engaged in online work or if you were experiencing suicidal thoughts, I would discuss with you the appropriate support that you could access during this period.
If you found yourself in a major crisis and were considering serious self-harm it would be vital to get immediate help. This could include contacting your GP, or your nearest accident and emergency service (A & E).
You could also call the Samaritans on :116123 or email [email protected].org ( email emergency support). All personal information disclosed will be kept confidential and not used for any purposes other than a counselling record.
This agreement shall be construed and governed in all respects in accordance with the laws of England, Wales, and Scotland, and any dispute or differences in relation to this agreement shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English Courts.
It is not permissible to record, publicise the content of our exchanges, or share them with a third party using social media or other aspects of personal and public forums. I will not be able to accept any invitations for contact with current or past clients via social media, nor will I endeavour to initiate contact with clients via social media sites or forums.
If you have any questions regarding the content of the agreement, or would like further information, please contact me at: Mark [email protected], or 07985247034
Information relating to your method of payment
Your debit or credit card number and other payment information is never taken by me or transferred to me either through my website or otherwise.
If you pay me by bank transfer, you may be identifiable by name in my bank account and statements.
When you contact me, whether through my website, by e-mail or via a professional directory, I collect the data you have given to me in order to reply with the information you need.
I may keep personally identifiable information associated with your message, such as your name and email address so as to be able to track my communications with you to provide a good service.
When I receive a complaint, I record all the information you have given to me.
I use that information to resolve your complaint.
If your complaint reasonably requires me to contact some other person, I may decide to give to that other person some of the information contained in your complaint. I do this as infrequently as possible, but it is a matter for my sole discretion as to whether I do give information, and if I do, what that information is provided.
If you complain about any of the content on my website, I shall investigate your complaint. If I feel it is justified or if I believe the law requires me to do so, I shall remove the content while I investigate.
If I think your complaint is vexatious or without any basis, I shall not correspond with you about it.
Cookies are small text files that are placed on your computer’s hard drive by your web browser when you visit any website. They allow information gathered on one web page to be stored until it is needed for use on another, allowing a website to provide you with a personalised experience and the website owner with statistics about how you use the website so that it can be improved.
Some cookies may last for a defined period of time, such as one day or until you close your browser. Others last indefinitely.
Your web browser should allow you to delete any you choose. It also should allow you to prevent or limit their use.
- to track how you use my website
- to record whether you have seen specific messages I display on my website
Personal identifiers from your browsing activity
My website is hosted by a hosting service, Webhealer. Requests by your web browser may be recorded by that hosting service.
Information such as your geographical location, your Internet service provider and your IP address, may be recorded, as well as information about the software you are using to browse my website, such as the type of computer or device and the screen resolution.
This information is used in aggregate to assess the popularity of the webpages on my website and how I perform in providing content to you.
If combined with other information gained about you from previous visits, the data possibly could be used to identify you personally, even if you are not signed in to my website.
In the event of my death or incapacitation through illness, a nominated contact will receive the name and contact details only of any clients with whom I have a current counselling relationship, so that they can inform them.
Third party access to your information
Third parties may hold access to information gained through our communications together. This might include information gained through cookies or your browsing activity, information from phone contact between us, information about payments, and information derived from our work online via email and video-conference software. This will normally relate to times and durations of communication rather than content.
Access to your personal information
At any time, you may review or update or request that I remove personally identifiable information that I hold about you. To obtain a copy of any information that is not provided on my website you may send me a request at [email protected]
After receiving the request, I will tell you when I expect to provide you with the information, and whether I require any fee for providing it to you.
When I receive any request to access, edit or delete personal identifiable information I shall first take reasonable steps to verify your identity before granting you access or otherwise taking any action. This is important to safeguard your information.
Storage of information
I keep your email address in the video conferencing / messaging software, and in my email account. These are both cloud-based. I keep your phone number in my mobile phone using your initials only; my phone data is backed up to the cloud.
Retention period for personal data
Except as otherwise mentioned in this privacy notice, I keep your personal information only for as long as required by me:
- to provide you with the services you have requested;
- to comply with other law, including for the period demanded by relevant tax authorities;
- to support a claim or defence in court.
I normally retain client records for 7 years after the end of the counselling relationship, unless one of the points above would require me to keep them longer.
Compliance with the law
I may update this privacy notice from time to time as necessary. The terms that apply to you are those posted here on my website on the day you use my website. I advise you to print a copy for your records.