Personal Information Guidelines

The Data Protection Act 2018 (General Data Protection Regulations) took effect on 25th May 2018 and from this date, I am required to obtain your consent for how I hold your data and protect your privacy.

In order to offer you counselling/psychotherapy, I need to take personal information from you, which includes your name, address and contact details, your GP name and contact details, third-party professional’s names and contact details, relevant physical and mental health history, and the contact details for a next of kin.

The personal data you provide is recorded on paper documents, which I hold securely in a locked filing cabinet, during and after our contract has concluded. I will also input your first name and a mobile telephone number onto my password-protected mobile phone. Your email will be stored by my email program on my password-protected laptop, which is also accessible via the same password-protected mobile phone.

If you have agreed for our sessions to be digitally recorded. Following the conclusion of our session, the recording is transferred to a password-protected USB memory stick and deleted from the digital recording device. The password-protected USB memory stick is held securely with my paper documents.

I will use your personal data for running my business, for example, contacting you about appointments, and managing payments. I will not contact you for any other reason unless we specifically contract to do so during your therapy. I also keep a record of sessions attended and a brief summary of what is explored in each session.

Email and text messages are not secure means of communication. As such, by agreeing to be in therapy with me you are indicating that you acknowledge I cannot ensure your confidentiality when using email or text messaging. If we agree to communicate online, I will recommend secure forms of online communication. If you prefer to use a non-secure communication platform, for example, Skype, by agreeing to be in therapy with me you are indicating that you acknowledge I cannot ensure your confidentiality.

I am compelled by specific Acts of Parliament and clinical ethical obligations to break confidentiality as indicated in your client information sheet. In these specific circumstances, I will share your personal information with the relevant authorities to protect yourself and/or others from significant harm.

I keep your personal data and any associated records securely for 7 years after the end of therapy, or when I last hear from you. After this period has elapsed, all paper documents will be destroyed and your electronic details removed from my mobile phone, computer or USB memory stick, as applicable. Any records of electronic communication will also be deleted.

I have named executors in my professional will, who may be instructed to contact you in the case of my incapacitation or death. If this occurs whilst we are in therapy together, or within the 7 years period, my executors may use your personal data accordingly. My professional will is held securely with my paper records.

You have the right to ask to see the information I hold about you, please ask me and you can view it in a session. You can ask me to change any information that I hold about you that is incorrect.

You have the right to ask me to delete information that I hold about you, which I will do excluding that which I have a legal obligation to keep, for example, for my business tax purposes.

If you wish to complain about how I handle your data, in the first instance please contact me, Alan McPherson, who is the Data Controller at Talking Space Therapy. If your complaint is not resolved to your satisfaction you can contact the Information Commissioners Office or 0303 123 1113.