This statement explains how personal information or data that you provide or that I uncover during a session will be processed and stored by me in the course of our work together.
All sessions are confidential and any personal data/information which you provide during your sessions will be treated as confidential in accordance both with Irish and European Data Protection legislation. I’m an accredited member of both The Irish Association for Counsellors & Psychotherapists and abide by their Code of Ethics.
During the course of our work together it will be necessary to collect and process general information, personal data and data related to your wellbeing. This notice sets out details of the information collected, how it’s processed and who it may be shared with. It also explains your rights under data protection law in relation to the processing of your data.
I will make a note of any general information that you’ve provided which is important to our working together. This information may include the individual or organisation that referred you; a record of appointment dates and attendance and correspondence.
The personal data includes your name, date of birth, gender, relationship status, home address, mobile number, email address, education, work status and living circumstances.
Emergency Contact: I will ask you for an emergency contact for health and safety purposes. This is likely to be either a family member or a close friend. I’ll need to hold contact and general information about those individuals.
Special Category Data
Due to the deeply personal nature of counselling and psychotherapy, I’ll need to process data relating to your physical and mental health. The General Data Protection Regulations describe data concerning health as a special category of personal data. This means that I can only hold a record of this kind of data/information if there’s a specific and justifiable reason to do so.
This information may include:
- Your reasons for coming to therapy;
- The name and contact details of your GP;
- The name and contact details for other healthcare professionals involved in your care;
- Details of any significant health issues you may have, including medication;
- Details of any previous mental health issues, including suicide attempts by you or people close to you;
- Writing or drawing or objects that you have produced as part of the therapeutic work;
- Assessment and analysis forms and material including feedback material
- Completed consent forms;
- Session notes.
How Your Personal Data is collected and stored
All the information received about and from you will be used only as an aid to our work together and to comply with legal obligations.
For the purposes stated above confidential notes of counselling sessions will be recorded. Electronic records will be held securely under password protection and written notes will be stored safely in a locked container. Following the termination of counselling I will retain your counselling records for seven years in keeping with professional codes of practice.
Other records – emails, etc.
- Emails which I receive from you or a third party that are relevant to our work together will be stored electronically in your client file and password protected.
- Other emails or correspondence which are not relevant to accurate long-term record keeping will be deleted or shredded once dealt with.
- Names and phone numbers will be stored in my work phone but will not identify you as a client. My work phone is password protected.
In the unlikely event of data being lost or compromised, I will tell you what has happened, unless you have stated that you do not wish to be contacted. I will inform the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner where the loss involves sensitive data. Where devices or equipment containing personal or sensitive data are lost or stolen the Data Protection Commissioner is notified only where data on such devices is not encrypted.
Details of Third Parties With Whom Your Personal Data May be Shared
The information you provide to the Therapist is confidential, however, there are circumstances in which it may be necessary to share aspects of your data with third parties for the purposes outlined below.
- When the information provided by you indicates that you may harm either yourself or others;
- Counsellors are legally obliged under the Children First Act 2015 to report child protection concerns and retrospective disclosures of abuse to Tusla Child & Family Agency, or An Garda Síochána;
- When the therapist is compelled by a court of law.
Supervision, Professional Development and Quality Assurance
All counsellors and psychotherapists are obliged to attend professional supervision during which they will discuss aspects of their client work. In supervision the psychotherapist’s work with you may be discussed. However no identifying information will be shared with the supervisor. No one but the Therapist can identify you, bearing in mind the exceptions listed above.
You have various rights under data protection law, including:
Access: You have the right to see what information I hold about you. There’s no fee to access this.
Correct Inaccuracies: You have the right to ask me to correct any personal data about you that is incorrect.
Erasure: You have the right to ask me to erase any information I hold about you. However, this right may be limited by my need to comply with statutory or regulatory requirements.
Communications: You have the right to ask me not to contact you after our work terminates.
Withdrawing Consent: You have the right to withdraw your consent to the processing of your personal data at any time.
Restrictions on Access to Data
Data Protection Act-Right to Access Exemptions
The rules set out in the Data Protection (Subject Access Modification) (Health) Order 2000 (SI 2000/413), The Data Protection (Access Modification) (Health) Regulations, 1989 (S.I. No. 82 of 1989) provide that health data relating to an individual should not be made available to the individual, in response to an access request, if that would be likely to cause serious harm to the physical or mental health of the data subject.
Special issues relating to Online Counselling
To protect your privacy during online counselling please ensure that you choose a space that ensures that you will not be overheard or interrupted. I will do the same. I will not make either audio or video recordings of our sessions and you must agree to also not record the sessions.
The boundaries of our therapeutic relationship cannot be extended to beyond the therapy sessions. Please do not try to befriend or contact the Therapist through social media as such requests will be denied. This is to protect the work that we do and is essential for the success of our work together.