AMH New Life Counselling supports the right to protection of personal information during and following the counselling process, although in exceptional circumstances this right may be superseded.
Basic rights for clients engaged with AMH NLC services are listed below. This information is referred to in our Agreement to Counselling / Policies & Procedures and will be explained to you by the Counsellor prior to your initial session.
a. To know the extent and limitations of the confidentiality being offered by the therapist
b. To give explicit consent to the making and keeping of records that contain personally sensitive information – a requirement of the GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018
c. To be told the circumstances in which the therapist may need to breach confidentiality and to have an opportunity to discuss and negotiate this with the therapist at the outset of their work together
d. To have a clear therapeutic contract with terms that are fully understood, accepted and supported. Queries are welcome in support of this transparent contracting process.
e. To know who will make, keep and have access to notes and records, how they will be kept, for how long, and for what purposes they may be retained/destroyed/disclosed.
f. To be informed when the therapist may have to or is about to breach confidentiality unless there are defensible reasons why this cannot be the case, for example in certain child protection situations (such as where it may be dangerous to a child or others to alert a person about impending disclosure, or may compromise a police investigation).
g. To know how, why and to whom information will be given by the therapist.
h. To know the importance of and/or access what is being said about the client if they wish to do so.
Therefore, while absolute confidentiality cannot be guaranteed, sensitive information will only be shared in exceptional circumstances where there is a potential risk of harm to yourself and/or others.
The exceptional circumstances which may result in a decision to share information are:
- Where the client requests, and feels that it is within their best interest, that certain information be passed on.
- Where the counsellor has sufficient grounds to believe that the client is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm.
- If the client discloses that they are aware of significant harm to another person.
- In the event that a young person is under a care order, or when child protection issues arise, the counsellor, with the permission of the young person, may attend case conferences and continue to honour the confidentiality contract.
AMH NLC Counsellors will only discuss case material with their Line Manager and anonymously with their Clinical Supervisor. Where there is a risk issue or child protection concern, the Head of Clinical Services or Designated Officer may be consulted.
In the case of service delivery within schools and other statutory bodies, relevant case material can be shared with individuals designated as child protection officers under legal safeguarding requirements (e.g. key contacts in schools). Every effort will be made to ensure that information is shared only after the signed consent of the client has been secured.
Data Protection GDPR
AMH New Life Counselling is fully committed to effective and secure management of records including their appropriate retention and disposal. Our procedures are framed to comply with the Freedom of Information and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), while adhering to confidentiality requirements.
Personal data is processed at AMH New Life Counselling (AMH/NLC) in accordance with GDPR and the following Data Protection Principles:
- Processed securely, fairly, lawfully and transparently;
- Collected and processed only for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes
- Adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary for the purposes for which it is processed;
- Accurate and up to date
- Not kept for longer than is necessary for the purposes for which it is processed.
Any requests regarding client notes and/or requests for information concerning attendance at counselling require a written request with a signed form of authority. Records requests are handled with caution, sensitivity and in accordance with GDPR and BACP professional guidance.
BACP GuidanceDisclosure may be authorised by client consent or the law. Any disclosures of client confidences should be undertaken in ways that best protect the client’s trust and respect client autonomy. For further information: http://www.bacp.co.uk/ethical_framework/ethics.php