Martine Frances Counselling 

www.martinefrancescounselling.com

Privacy Policy 

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I want anyone who comes to me for support to feel confident and comfortable with how any personal information you share with me will be looked after or used. This Privacy Policy sets out how I collect, use and store personal information (this means any information that identifies or could identify you). This is in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998 and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) May 2018. I am registered as a 'Data Controller' with the Information Commissioner's Office (Reg.No. ZA463297). 

My contact details are: Tel: 01234 982362  Email: info@martinefrancescounselling.com

Website: www.martinefrancescounselling.com

I am committed to protecting the personal information that you impart to me, making every effort to ensure that this data is processed fairly and lawfully and is kept secure and retained no longer that is necessary. 

Consent to hold your personal data 

I am committed to ensuring that I protect your privacy and will seek your explicit written consent to hold personal data about you, specifically and only for the purposes of providing counselling to you. I may also analyse data you provide me with for purposes of providing the best possible service to you. 

If you make contact via my website, email or by phone you will be asked to provide certain information by which you can be identified, including your name and contact details (such as your phone number or email address). 

The information you provide will be held securely and will only be used in accordance with data protection principles, privacy policy and ethical principles (contained in the British Association for Counsellors and Psychotherapists Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions: July 2018). www.bacp.co.uk

I will honour the confidence and trust you have placed in me. The basis on which I hold and share information about you is outlined below and also the limits around confidentiality. 

You have the right of access to information I hold about you and to amend or ask for deletion of information that may not be accurate or correct. Please contact me should you wish to view the data I hold about you. 

I will not hold your data for longer that is deemed necessary for the purpose of counselling and following best practice and legal guidance. Please contact me if you wish to know how long I will retain your data or notes. 

Information I collect and why I use it

I will collect the majority of personal information during first contact and assessment. I will advise you if any of this data is optional. I will collect the following information in order to establish if I can provide you with counselling. 

  • Your name

  • Contact information: email address, home address, phone number

  • Date of birth

  • Emergency contact information

  • GP details

  • A brief description of what brings you to counselling how you are functioning e.g. work, sleep, diet, your present support network and perhaps goals you may want to achieve through the process of counselling. I will ask specific questions regarding mental wellbeing. 

  • Information about any disability you may have.

  • During the assessment process I will present you (or your parent/guardian if you are under 18 years of age) with an Informed Consent Form to give me permission to process your data - this includes information regarding your healthcare professionals and emergency contact details. 

  • During the assessment you will be given a copy of the counselling contract (therapeutic agreement) to read and discuss. If you wish to proceed with counselling, you will need to sign the contract before counselling can commence. Children under the age of 13 years old or perhaps older but who may not be able to provide their informed consent will require a parent or guardian to sign  the counselling contract on their behalf to enable counselling sessions to commence. 

  • I will request that you take part in an anonymised outcome measure assessment which is a tool designed to help monitor your wellbeing at the start, during and end of therapeutic counselling. You have the right not to participate in this. 

  • Information regarding affordability of counselling sessions and fee agreed. 

During counselling:

  • I, as counsellor will keep brief anonymised session notes, your identity will be protected at all times. These notes are not shared with anyone unless I am legally required to do so or you the client specifically requests that I share them with another third party - which I have the right to refuse to do. 

  • Personal data that identifies you and counselling notes are held securely.

  • These notes are my property but you have the right to view them should you wish to do so, providing that doing so will not cause harm to you or anyone else. If a third-party requests access to your notes I will inform you of this. 

  • Only, your counsellor is authorised to access your notes.

Regarding safeguarding - Please note: Children and young people under the age of 18 years must have the consent of their parent, guardian or carer in order for me to contact them via my website, a video platform or by phone for counselling purposes. 

What I do with the information I collect

I collect this information to understand your clinical and other needs from counselling and to provide you with a better service, a contract for counselling with you and in particular for the following reasons:

  • internal record keeping, keeping a record of your therapeutic relationship with me

  • to assist with clinical assessment and for professional supervision of how I work

  • I will also use your personal data to meet any legal obligations placed upon me - for instance when you exercise your rights to see what data I hold under the data protection law or in order to meet legal compliance places on me; or occasions where I may be obliged to disclose information related to safeguarding children, young people and adults at risk

  • to process you payments

  • by providing this information you enable me to provide the service you have requested

Keeping your personal data safe

The data I collect from you is not transferred outside the European Economic Area (EEA).

I will take steps reasonably necessary to ensure that your data is treated securely and in accordance with the privacy notice. All information you provide to me is stored securely and information held on computer is held on a secure server. Any payment transactions via your bank will only be identified by an anonymized client reference and no other information will be required or shared. 

Unfortunately, the transmission of information via the internet cannot be completely secure. I have in place security measures to protect your personal data, but cannot guarantee the security of your data transmitted to my website. Therefore, any information from you via my website is at your own risk. 

How long do I hold your information

I will only keep your information for as long as is reasonable and necessary for the relevant activity, which may be to fulfil statutory obligations.

Security

I am committed to making sure your information is secure. I have in place this policy and procedures to prevent unauthorised access or disclosure - there are suitable and appropriate physical, electronic and managerial procedures to safeguard and secure the information I collect online. 

Use of my website - www.martinefrancescounselling.com

By visiting my website, you are agreeing to the contents of this privacy notice. 

When visiting my website anonymised information is gathered, for example, which pages are visited most often. The website also uses 'essential cookies' to ensure the site functions effectively. 

Information regarding cookies:

Cookies/cookie is a name for a small file, usually of letters and numbers, which is downloaded onto your device - your computer, mobile phone or tablet when you visit a website. They let websites recognise your device, so that the sites can work more effectively, and also gather information about how you use the site. A cookie by itself, cannot be used to identify you. My website uses cookies. Essential cookies are used so as to optimise site functioning as well as other purposes such as security and anti-fraud. Other cookies used are analytical cookies - they allow the recording of technical data (such as IP addresses) so that I can recognise and count the number of visitors to my site and to see how visitors move around the site when they are using it. This helps me to improve the way my website works, for example, by ensuring that users find what they are looking for easily. All the data that is collected from use of cookies is anonymous, meaning that records of individual names, addresses etc. are not kept. I do not use any third party applications such as Google Analytics. My website is not connected to advertisers.

More information about cookies:

To learn more about cookies in general and how to manage them you may like to go to aboutcookies.org. If you would like to opt out of cookies, please go to Network Advertising Initiative website for information.

Links to other websites

Any website that may appear on my website I have no control over. Therefore, I cannot be responsible for the protection and privacy of any information which you provide whilst visiting such sites and such sites are not governed by this privacy statement. You should exercise caution and look at their privacy statements. 

Regarding my website: You may visit my website freely without having to contact me or use my service. 

Controlling your personal information

I do not share your personal information with anyone else unless in pursuit of counselling on your behalf and only then if I have your permission to do so. In exceptional circumstances, I may be required by law and my ethical responsibility to break our confidentiality with you. I would discuss this with you first whenever possible, but if you do not consent, I may still have to disclose information. This relates to situations where you may be at risk of harm, causing harm to others, the safeguarding of children, young people and adults at risk, acts of terrorism and unreported traffic accidents, where therapists have legal obligations. 

Access to information

You have the right of access to the personal information which I hold about you under the General Data Protection Regulations (2018) and also the right of access to your client notes. You can contact me if you wish to examine what I hold and if you believe that any information I am holding regarding you is incorrect or incomplete. Steps will be taken to correct any incorrect information that I hold. There is no charge to access this information and it will be provided to you within one week unless circumstances require longer, but this will not exceed a month in any event. Evidence of your identity is required.

You have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner's Office in connection with enforcement and compliance with data protection law at www.ico.org.uk

Questions, comments and requests regarding privacy notice and procedures around privacy and confidentiality are welcomed and should be addressed to me by email to info@martinefrancescounselling .com or by writing to me at the following address: Molivers Lane, Bromham, Bedford MK43 8JT 

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