Confidentiality is central and crucial to the work of the Counselling Service. Anyone choosing to enter into a counselling relationship rightly expects that the content of their discussion with the counsellor 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 counselling 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

Data Protection

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 counselling 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.

Access to Records

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.

Supervision of Counsellors’ Work

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.