Please read before our first meeting
Confidentiality – Elaine Owen Counselling
My counselling practice is a private and confidential form of help. I hold information about each of my clients and the services they receive in confidence. This means that I will not normally give your name or any information about you to anyone outside the Practice. However, there are exceptional cases where I might ethically or legally have to give information to relevant authorities, for example if I had reason to believe that someone, especially a child, is at serious risk of harm or to prevent a miscarriage of justice. I will discuss any proposed disclosure with you unless I believe that to do so could increase the level of risk to you or to someone else.
If you come to counselling with a partner or your family, I may suggest seeing each of you individually. It is important for you to know that what is said in those individual sessions will be confidential and not shared with your partner or family.
If you attend a course or group work programme, confidentiality will be discussed at the first session.
Reports and Client Records
Occasionally I am asked by clients or by external agencies such as Social Services or the NHS to write reports on the progress made in counselling or other services. I am not normally in a position to do this because of my duty of confidentiality to my clients and because I am not trained in the specialist areas of diagnosis or social work assessment. However, I can in some circumstances, and on receipt of written consent from the client(s) who attended a service, provide brief information about the dates and number of sessions attended. In addition, I am also asked by clients, their Solicitors, the Police and the Courts for access to the client records. These are not suitable as evidence in legal proceedings and I reserves the right to resist legal requests to produce the records in court. I do this in order to protect my duty of confidentiality to all my clients and to protect my reputation as the provider of confidential counselling and relationship support.
- The information about confidentiality in no way contravenes your rights under the General Data Protection Regulation May 2018 to access personal data that I hold on you. I keep confidential records and statistics about my clients. All records are kept securely and are only seen by myself and my Supervisor. These records are subject to the General Data Protection Regulation May 2018. Records are kept for a period of 7 years and are then destroyed.
- On occasions clients may wish to exercise their rights under the General Data Protection Regulation May 2018 and make a subject access request in respect of their personal information held. Often during counselling and in services, information is provided by more than one individual. In this case I will only release information if consent has been given by all of the individuals involved. If at any time you wish to exercise your right under the Act you should put your request in writing and provide evidence of your identity such as a copy of your passport or driver’s licence and proof of your address. When I receive your written request and evidence of identity I will respond to your request within one calendar month. The response to a valid subject access request will normally be in the form of a schedule listing and describing the personal data I hold.
By signing the consent form you acknowledge that you understand and agree with my subject access policy.
Please switch off your mobile phone during your sessions as it can create an unhelpful distraction and interruption.
Unauthorised electronic recording
In order for you to work safely and effectively with me, it is important that the privacy of the work is respected. Please, therefore, do not attempt to record your sessions using any device or app. If it is found that recordings have been made covertly, services for the individual responsible will be discontinued immediately and I reserve the right to seek legal advice regarding possible further action.
Authorised electronic recording
Occasionally as a practitioner, I will be required to record a session with a client or clients. Some practitioners regularly use audio or video recording in their work and in these circumstances, you will be asked to give your written consent for this to happen. The consent will specify all the ways in which the recording will be used (for example training, supervision or research) and will specify how and when the recording will be destroyed.
Domestic abuse is an issue for many people who come for help with their relationship. I know from experience that in this situation, working with couples or family members together may not be safe. If this is so, I will help each person to get individual specialist support from another agency.
If you intend to cancel, at least 48 hours’ notice should be given to avoid cancellation charges.
Codes of ethics and practice
All counsellors and supervisors are required to comply with the code of ethics and practice that is appropriate to the work they undertake. My counselling service is covered by the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy’s Ethical Framework for Good Practice.
Feedback and complaints
If you have any feedback about the service you received, or you are not satisfied with your experience, please tell me. I can hopefully resolve your complaint, but if you wish to take things further, I have a complaints procedure please ask me for details. I welcome feedback and if you make a complaint, I will always take it seriously as it allows me to improve the service I offer to my clients.