General Information and Privacy
Psychotherapy can involve you sharing a range of personal or sensitive information. This policy explains what happens with information you disclose in the course of therapy.
PERSONAL DATA HELD ABOUT YOU AS PART OF OUR THERAPEUTIC WORK.
Records held about you
When we first meet I will request your contact details, including details of someone who can be contacted in an emergency. I will also keep notes from the initial assessment session. These will include details of your attachment history and other things that may be significant in relation to you seeking psychotherapeutic support. I may also keep basic factual notes of our on-going sessions. In these I might note what we talked about, or if I perceive that you are at any risk. If we have email or other written contact I may keep a paper copy of our communication.
All records that relate to you and your therapy will be held securely and destroyed at a prescribed date after your therapy has ended. You may request to see these notes and in keeping with my therapeutic duty of care you will be able to have access to what I have written during an agreed session. This will give us an opportunity to talk through what this means for you and our work together.
You being in therapy with me and the contents of our sessions are confidential. However, to take best care of our relationship and in keeping with my professional guidelines I am in regular supervision with a senior practitioner and share clinical material with them. They are subject to the same code of ethics and conduct as I am.
If you are in distress and we identify that you are at serious risk of harming yourself I may ask you to extend the confidentiality of our sessions to include someone else. For example, you may need my support in contacting another professional involved in your care such as a doctor. In these circumstances any communication with a third party will only be with your consent and I will share anything I write with you.
Requirement to breach confidentiality:
My priority is always to preserve the sanctity of our relationship, however you should be aware that under the law psychotherapists are required to consider breaching client confidentiality and inform the relevant authorities in some circumstances (See below). If for any reason this becomes an issue within our therapy where appropriate this would be something that we would talk through in detail.
Circumstances in which a therapist may be required to share information:
You disclose that you are at risk of carrying out serious harm to yourself or others.
You make me aware of an identifiable minor being harmed and that there are issues that invoke the law as it relates to child protection.
You make me aware of matters relating to an act of terrorism.
You make me aware of activities covered by the drug trafficking act (1994)
A request is made by the authorities in the context of legal proceedings.
As part of my work as a psychotherapist and supervisor I sometimes teach and write about my clinical practice. I will always seek permission before using any material about my clinical work with an individual client in publication. In keeping with the ethics and code of conduct of my training organisation (The Bowlby Centre) and registering bodies (UKCP) client confidentiality is paramount, and the way in which any material is presented will preserve this through the alteration of key details, heavily anonymizing and disguising information to protect all concerned.
My Therapeutic Will determines that all my notes will be destroyed in the event of my death to protect client confidentiality.