This policy is a statement that governs the way Maria Smith uses, maintains and discloses information collected from clients using Just Another Way Counselling Services. This Policy applies to the practice, website and services offered by Maria Smith, online, by telephone or within the private practice.

(Clients seeking therapy will be offered a paper copy of GDPR Privacy Policy at their Initial Assessment which contains the following information to be signed to acknowledge, understand and agree with how the information is collected, stored and held before therapy sessions can commence)

Personal Information that is being Collected both electronically and paper copy version

  • Name (Client)
  • Occupation
  • Address
  • Preferred Contact number
  • Next of Kin (this in case of emergency, should you fain, need medical intervention)
  • History/Chronology of previous therapy sessions (if apply)
  • Medical conditions (and treatment forms including medication) that are relevant to the therapy sessions or conditions that require my possible interventions these include any known disabilities
  • Goals, Aims and expectations from Counselling/Therapy Sessions

How do I store information?

Handwritten notes pertaining to sessional content and personal details are kept separately in a safe locked cabinet.

Smart Note:  - My I phone is passcoded and locked and it is only accessible using the password which also is changed periodically for further safety. Client’s preferred contact number is stored for appointment reminder, cancellations or payment method too.

Email: - The contact email is stored for email communication between myself and client with prior permission as discussed at Initial Assessment. My email system is secure and I can use encrypt should client wish me to do so. Emails are used generally as a means of communication regarding urgent matters and they do not substitute nor are used as counselling/therapy sessions. 

Website: - was created for marketing purposes it does not contain personal data or information of any clients except the practitioner herself, namely Maria Smith and her working environment.

Third party websites: Clients might find content on my website that link to the sites of other third parties I do not control these sites which are liked to my website and thus I am not responsible for how the third party collect, store or use information.

Documents held:

  • Contract/ Agreement form (while in most cases clients prefer verbal agreement/contract for good practice purposes a written contract is made available for all clients at the commencement of counselling/therapy sessions a copy is retained by counsellor for reference)
  • Privacy statement signed by client (client is issued a privacy statement and one copy is retained by counsellor/therapist for reference)
  • Assessment form
  • Client Code
  • Notes (these are coded and act as a record of sessions held and themes of matters, processes addressed in sessions, these are kept safely and not being shared with anyone in any capacity other than client (at their request) or by Judge in case a court order is requested. These Notes are kept for a minimum of 5 years in line with Insurance Policy.

How I may share your personal information:

Supervision: I attend monthly clinical supervision to ensure my practice remains safe and ethical. Client identity is not shared or disclosed. Purpose of Clinical Supervision is to ensure that my practice as a counsellor/therapist is sound and in line with my regulating professional body which is British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists.

Therapeutic Will: - your name and contact details will be shared with my Therapeutic Executor so that in the unlikely event of my sudden death you can be contacted should you be still in therapy with me. My Therapeutic Executor is also a therapist who would have signed a confidentiality agreement which states that she/he will only access this information as specified above and will dispose of the records in line with regulations of the Data Protection at the time.

Emergencies: If your health is in jeopardy and I have serious concerns of your safety and wellbeing, I may share your details with a health service such as your GP or Mental Health Crisis Team.

Erasing your information: All electronic enquiries are erased 6months after counselling/therapy sessions have ceased. Written information can be held up to 6 years following cessation of therapy.  This is so I have reference should you decided to return to therapy.

Referrals: At times clients ask for a referral letter to be sent to GP or other therapeutic services containing information such as: Client Name, Address, Contact details, Concerns and reasons for referring. This will be agreed in writing with client and done at an additional agreed fee.

Your rights

  • Right to Access: You have the right to ask for a copy of your personal information, free of charge, in an electronic or paper format. You also have the right to ask me to amend and change information that is incorrect.
  • Right to be forgotten: You have the right to ask me to erase information that I hold about you. This includes your personal information that is no longer relevant to original purpose, or if you wish to withdraw consent. In all cases and when considering such requests, these rights are obligatory unless its it is information that I have legal obligation to retain.
  • Data portability: As the client, you have the right to receive your personal information which you previously provided, also you have the right to transfer that information to another party. For the purposes of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) 2018, the data “controller” Maria Smith (Just Another Way Counselling Services) May 2018


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