Balance Counselling (BC) is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy. This notice, along with the Counselling Agreement, sets out the basis on which any personal and sensitive data I collect from you, or is provided by you, will be processed, stored, retained and destroyed. This is all in accordance with current General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and principles which came into force in May 2018. Any future changes made to this policy will be posted on the website for Balance Counselling.
Data collection and usage
1. BC collects data in the form of contact details; therapy history; details of your GP and other relevant information pertaining to your current physical, mental & emotional health and the reason for your visit to BC.
2. This information is given freely by yourself and is deemed true and correct at the time. This is collected by no other person except Chris Sansom. Updates to your data must be provided by yourself as soon as it is known.
3. BC uses a manual paper collection process for the primary source of data.
4. The reason for collecting the data identified above is to inform a therapeutic approach and plan in the best interests. It is not shared with third parties.
5. Should a referral letter, or report, be required to be sent to your GP (or other professional) then a copy will be also given directly to you.
6. Names and telephone numbers are used only for effective direct communication and appointment reminders.
The contact form on the website only captures an enquirer's name and email address along with the IP address of the computer used to make the request and is thus a standard email contact. No cookies are captured and contact details are subsequently deleted.
Lawful basis for processing
1. Personal data is collected by BC with consent from you, the client, for the purposes of counselling/talking therapy.
2. If the client is under the age of 18 a parent or guardian will sign consent on behalf of the client, however, verbal consent will be sought from the client at the initial consultation in order to proceed with therapy.
3. Receipt of emails, telephone calls, messages from BC will be for the sole purpose of making arrangements for counselling sessions and to communicate any agreed actions from sessions in exceptional circumstances.
All measures are taken to prevent any destruction, damage or accidental loss of your personal and sensitive data. No third party has access to your data.
1. Paper files are stored and locked securely in a filing cabinet which only Chris Sansom has full access to. These files are only retrieved prior to a session, or to check a detail, and are returned immediately after use.
2. Referral letters/GP reports are produced on BC PC and will be printed and given directly to you. A second copy will be printed and contained within your paper file. The original will then be deleted.
3. Phone/text messages will be sent and received from the BC phone number and will be held anonymously.
Retention, access and destruction
In compliance with regulatory, industry and GDPR guidelines, your data is stored for no longer than deemed necessary. Therefore, all files are retained for;
1. Seven years after your final counselling session for adults over the age of 18.
2. For a child who received, and ended, counselling prior to turning 18 years old, all information will be kept for seven years after the date of their 18th birthday.
As the data subject, you have the right to request access to all data held on you. Should you wish to request this please email directly to: [email protected] If counselling notes contain references to other individuals these may not be available to you, as protection is also granted to 3rd parties. It will be important not just to show the notes to you but to discuss the content of the notes. Some may be in shorthand and may need explaining.
You shall receive your requested data within 1 calendar month of the initial request.
At the end of the retention period, or by request, paper files will be shredded and securely disposed of.