BTW Counselling is registered with the Information Commissioner's Office and I, Kathryn Harriss am the Data Protection Officer. This means that I am responsible for making sure that the means for keeping your personal data safe are transparent and effective. This policy applies solely to the data collected directly by BTW Counselling.
What information do I collect?
The initial contact form on the website is emailed to me using Protonmail which is encrypted and safer than some other email providers. Although I will do my best to protect your privacy, transmission of information via the internet can never be guaranteed to be completely secure. Once I have received your information, I have strict procedures to keep it safe.
I will offer an initial consultation appointment and this is the main point of data collection. I will ask for name, address, telephone number, email address, date of birth, GP's details and historical information relevant to providing a counselling service. This will include details of your family background, living circumstances and how you see the issues that are affecting you at that time. I will need to know your availability for appointment times.
At the end of this consultation, if we agree to go ahead with counselling, such information from which you are identifiable is separated and stored separately from future session notes. This includes the written consent form.
How I use your information
Historical information about you will be requested so that I can provide a professional counselling service. Information you have shared with me is confidential but you should be aware of the following exceptions:
From time to time, I will discuss my work with a clinical supervisor. This is standard practice and helps me to work as well as I can with you. My supervisor is bound by the same code of ethics and confidentiality as myself.
If I believe you are at risk of harming yourself or others, I reserve the right to break confidentiality in order to prevent harm. However, I would only do this in extreme circumstances and would always try to discuss it with you first before taking any action.
If required by a court of law to give evidence (e.g. in criminal proceedings).
For the purpose of continuing professional development, I may submit written material of some sessions for evaluation. Any such written material will be disguised to protect your identity and will only be reviewed by clinicians bound by the same or a compatible Ethical Framework.
If you follow a link to another website, this policy will not cover you.
I use Google Analytics to collect anonymous data which, for example, tells me how many people have visited my website and which pages they visited most frequently, whether they came via another website etc ('web traffic' statistics). This is subject to Google's own privacy policies.
Storage and your rights
All written material is kept in a locked cabinet, in a locked room. I keep short written session notes and I will keep them for 7 years after which time they will be destroyed. For people under 18, the notes will be kept until they are 25. You have the right to have sight of the notes and to the correction of any inaccuracies. You also have the right to withdraw consent for me to hold your personal data. If this withdrawal should be whilst counselling is still taking place then the service would need end. To request any of these actions, please use my website's contact form.
Your name will not be stored on my mobile phone in the address book but it may be necessary for us to communicate from time to time by text or phone regarding appointments only.
Changes to this policy
I will review my policy on privacy and security of data from time to time and may edit this accordingly. Any substantial change will be displayed prominently on my website.