Confidentiality is central and crucial to the work of the Counselling Service. Anyone choosing to enter into a therapeutic relationship rightly expects that the content of their discussion with their therapist will be treated as confidential.
The Service works within the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy Ethical Framework (BACP) and the Data Protection Act 1998. The service will not reveal anything you have given to our service or shared with your counsellor unless you ask us to.
This means that your academic department will not know that you are having therapy unless you want us to tell them.
Similarly with your parents.
If either your department or parents contact us requesting information, we will maintain this confidentiality unless you give us written permission to do otherwise.
The only exception to this:
1. If your counsellor is concerned that there is a substantial risk of harm to yourself or others
2. If the Prevention of Terrorism Act (2000, s. 38B) or The Children Act (1989) applies
3. If the Drug Trafficking Act 1994, Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 or the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 apply
4. If a subpoena is issued against your counsellor to appear in court and give evidence under oath
Under the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) and General Data Protection Regulation 2018 (GDPR) there are strict requirements concerning personal data and its storage. In accordance with this Act your permission is needed for the collection of, use and retention of any personal data whether by manual or electronic means. In order that your therapy proceeds smoothly, the service needs to retain and use certain personal information. You have a right to request access to any records kept about you, unless this will jeopardise any third party confidentiality.
All computerised data is used to provide anonymous statistical information about the work of the counselling team which helps to evaluate and monitor the effectiveness of the service the team offers.
Your attendance at any appointment with the Counselling Service is on the understanding that we will retain and use information regarding your engagement with the service.
We keep records of personal details i.e. name, address, telephone number and a record of appointments. We also keep records of your initial assessment, monitoring questionnaire(s) and a brief summary of the main issues discussed in the therapy process.
We use the information for the following purposes:
Supervision of case work
Conferring between counsellors and other members of the wider Student Services team on a need to know basis
The collection of anonymised data for the purpose of monitoring our service
Discharge of our statutory duties under the law, especially in relation to safeguarding concerns or prevention of terrorism
Confidentiality will be broken, beyond the boundaries set above, only if required by law, it is deemed to be in the public interest, or if requested and agreed by you.
Your records are kept for a further six years after the end of the year of your last appointment. Following this they will be destroyed.
Under the Data Protection Act 1998 and General Data Protection Regulation 2018, clients have a right to access records kept about them. If you would like to see your records, requests should be made in writing to the Head of Service stating your reason(s). You will be invited to meet with your counsellor within 10 working days, to view your records.
All counsellors receive regular supervision in which they consult with an appropriately qualified consultant supervisor outside the university in order to ensure that the counsellor is working both therapeutically and to ethical standards. If your counsellor talks about your situation to his/her supervisor, it will be in a way that does not identify you. Your counsellor’s supervisor is also bound by the BACP Ethical Framework.