Information I ask for and why
If you contact me to request therapy services I will offer you a free initial consultation, which is an opportunity for us to meet and discuss any questions or concerns before deciding whether to proceed with therapy. If we decide to proceed, I will ask you for some personal information before we start the first session. This helps me to administer and deliver the service you have requested. Some information is essential and I will not be able to proceed without it, other information is helpful but not essential.
Your email address and phone number
Main medical/psychiatric history
Current prescribed medication
Reasons for requesting therapy, understanding of current difficulties, and goals:
Optional but helpful to know:
Your date of birth and age GP name:
GP Practice: GP Address: GP Contact Number:
Emergency contact details Name:
Use of alcohol and/or other substances
Previous experience of therapy
What I will use your information for:
To contact you to arrange appointments and discuss any changes to appointments
To make a clinical assessment of the best course of therapy.
To support you effectively in the case of an emergency
What information I will record about our therapy sessions:
After each therapy session I write case notes. These notes include the date and time of the session, a brief outline of the content of the session and my interventions. I may take photos of work created in sessions for professional development and supervision purposes. They do not include any names or other identifiable information.
I will record how much you paid for the session.
How I will securely store your information:
I will store your phone number in my business mobile phone for the period that you are engaging in therapy. I will only use a first name, and the phone is secured with a passcode. I will delete your number when you finish your course of therapy.
I will store your email address in my email account, which is hosted by the encrypted email server protonmail. I access my emails via my mobile phone and laptop, which are both secured with passcodes and antivirus software. I will delete your email address and any email correspondence when you finish your course of therapy.
I will provide you with a Client Intake Form to record the personal information I request at first contact. You may wish to return this form from an encrypted email address (e.g. a protonmail account)
I will keep your case notes for six years on a password protected usb, in line with the Statute of Limitations for the rare situation of case notes being subpoenaed for a court case.
I will keep a record of your payments for therapy sessions for five years, in line with the advice of the Financial Conduct Authority.
I will delete all other information I hold relating to you immediately after our last therapy session, or sooner if you request that I do so.
For my own ongoing professional development, I meet with another qualified therapist on a regular basis for clinical supervision. The focus of these sessions is the development of my practice, and when I discuss our work together I will only share what is necessary and purposeful, but no identifiable information.
I may seek permission to use a digital recorder to record a therapy session, so that I can reflect on my practice with my supervisor. I will not do this without your verbal and written consent, which can be withdrawn at any time.
If you consent to me recording your session I will transfer the file to my laptop and protect it with a password. I will only hold the recording for as long as necessary and no longer than five years.
Sharing your information with other organisations:
I will not share your personal information with anyone except in the case of an emergency, or if you ask me to do so. Examples of emergencies; in the case of a medical emergency I may contact your GP or the ambulance service. I may contact the police if I feel that you or someone else are at risk of serious harm.
In the unusual situation of your case notes being requested by the police or solicitor to assist with a legal case I will seek your consent first. Case notes do not include names or other identifiable information.
In all incidences I will attempt to discuss the sharing of information with you first and gain your consent, but in some situations the law may require me to contact an authority without your consent.
If you have provided me with an emergency contact we will agree together under what circumstances I would contact them. I do not require you to provide an emergency contact.
In case of my being unable to practice, for example due to serious illness or death, my therapeutic executor (a fellow therapist) has instructions that enables them to access your name and contact details so they can inform you of the circumstances.
Therapy by video conference:
Our sessions will be face to face unless we are unable to by law or if you request otherwise. If we need to conduct our therapy sessions by video conference, my preference is to use the platform Zoom, as it is secure, easy to use, and free to the client. For more information about security on Zoom; https://zoom.us/security and for more information on Zoom’s compliance with GDPR; https://zoom.us/gdpr. I will not record your name or personal details anywhere in Zoom. I will use a password for our meeting, and the ‘waiting room’ feature, to ensure no one else is able to access our meeting. I will use Zoom from a confidential space in my home, and I ask you to do the same.
Social media and website:
If you chose to ‘like’ or ‘follow’ my business Twitter account or Instagram page, I do not hold any data about that, or any interactions on the page, outside of the individual platforms.
You can ‘unlike’ or ‘unfollow’ my page at any time.
My website gestaltwest.com uses a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) which encrypts the connection between the browser and web server and securely transmits information, ensuring the transferred data cannot be read or modified by third parties.
I use Google Analytics to measure the effectiveness of my website in publicising my service. Google Analytics collects first-party cookies, data related to the device/browser, IP address and on-site/app activities to measure and report statistics about user interactions. More information about Google Analytics’ data practices and commitment to protecting the confidentiality and security of data can be found here; https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/6004245?hl=en&ref_topic=2919631
Meeting outside of therapy: If we meet outside of therapy you’re welcome to say hello. If I see you and say hello first please understand it’s because I’m respecting your privacy.
You have rights and control over how your data is used, and the relevant laws are the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) You have the right to be informed of what information I hold, and how it is stored and processed.
You have a right to see the information I hold about you, free of charge
You have a right to rectify any inaccurate or incomplete personal information
You have the right to withdraw your consent to me using your personal information
You have the right to request that your personal information is erased
I can decline requests to erase information that I need to retain to practice lawfully and competently
How to request a copy of your information, deletion of information, or amendment of information:
You can ask me during a session or contact me at any time via the contact details at the top of this document.
I will comply with your request as soon as I am able to and within one month.
You can speak to me in a session or contact me via the contact details at the top of this notice to discuss any concerns in the first instance and I will attempt to resolve the issue
You can complain if you think I have broken the GDPR or DPA 2018 laws
Complaints about data protection can be handled by the government’s Information Commissioners’ Office. Information about raising a concern can be found here; https://ico.org.uk/for-the-public/raising-concerns/
Dawn Baird is a data controller for the purposes of the DPA 2018 and GDPR