Questions and Answers
What is personal information?
The Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) defines personal information as any information that can be used to identify a living individual. Individuals can be identified by various means including their name, address, telephone number or email address for example.
Why do you want to process my personal information?
We need to process your personal information in order to fulfil my contractual obligations to you as a therapy provider, for example to assess whether we are able to offer you therapy in the first place, and then to deliver effective therapy to you if therapy commences. Your personal information helps guide both the assessment process, and clinical decision-making during your therapy. We will also use the information we collect about you to develop a better therapy website service. Contractual obligations between you (client) and us (therapy provider) are the lawful basis for the processing of your personal information.
What are the laws that protect my personal information?
The DPA and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) require that all organisations that store personal information about people may only do so provided that the information is: processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner; collected for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes; adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary; accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date; kept in a form that permits identification of information subjects for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which the personal information are processed; and processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security of the personal information.
How will you collect my personal information?
We will collect your personal information in the following ways: via the website: http://www.at-ease-counselling.co.uk, over the telephone, in writing, and in person during our meetings.
How will you treat my personal information?
We will treat your personal information in a way that is compliant with the DPA and the GDPR. The lawful and proper treatment of your personal information is important in order to maintain your confidence and the confidence of other clients and staff.
How will you store my personal information?
We will store your personal information both electronically and physically. Personal information is stored electronically on devices that are password and/or fingerprint ID protected, and in files that are further password protected and only accessible by your therapist. Names and contact details are stored separately to other personal information (anonymised format). Information is stored physically using paper records held securely in locked storage in an anonymised format. These records are also only accessible by your therapist.
How long will you store my personal information?
According to the GDPR, your personal information should be stored for no longer than is necessary. In practical terms, we will usually store your information for a minimum of seven years following the termination of your treatment. However, we may need to store your information for longer than this, for instance in order to defend your therapist in a claim situation, or to comply with my insurance terms and conditions.
What types of information will you collect about me?
We will collect several types of information about you and in several different ways. For instance, when you visit http://www.at-ease-counselling.co.uk we will collect the following information about your visit: IP address, location, search engine, date, time, web pages visited, operating system, and device.
If you request a call-back via the web form on http://www.at-ease-counselling.co.uk, We will collect the following information: name, telephone number, date, and time.
Before committing to provide you with psychological services, we will ask you via telephone or email to provide the following information: name, telephone number, address, availability, the psychological issues that you would like to address, and symptoms.
Once agreed that therapy with us is right for you, and your therapy commences, we will collect further information from you that may include: goals for therapy, GP contact details, previous therapy, current medication, previous criminal convictions, network of support, financial and employment circumstances, health and physical issues, alcohol and drug use, appetite and sleep, family structure, overview of your family situation, and early memories of caregivers.
What is ‘special category’ information, and why do you need to process this too?
Special category information is defined by the GDPR as being information that is more sensitive than other personal information, and therefore requiring of higher levels of protection. Examples of this type of information could include information about your health, race, sexuality, sex life, or religion. In order to lawfully process special category information, We are obliged to identify a specific condition for processing it under Article 9 of the GDPR and communicate this to you. The condition of the GDPR that we apply to the processing of your special category information is that it is ‘pursuant to contract with a health professional’. This means that, if you begin therapy with us, or ask us to assess whether you are eligible for therapy, then we will likely need to process some special category information about you. Usually, this is information about your mental health, and we need to process it to fulfil our contractual obligations to you in delivering safe, effective therapy.
What is a ‘data controller’, and who is the ‘data controller’ for At Ease Counselling & Psychotherapy?
The GDPR defines a ‘data controller’ as the person in an organisation who: ‘determines the purposes and means of processing personal data’. For the purposes of the GDPR, the ‘data controller’ in At Ease Counselling & Psychotherapy is Nikki Smith (ICO registration A8709327).
Who else will you collect information about?
We collect and process information about the individuals with whom our business operates. These include clients, staff, suppliers and other business contacts.
Who will my personal information be shared with?
Some of your personal information may be shared with your GP, or other healthcare professional, under certain exceptional circumstances. These include the requirements of a court of law, the threat of serious physical harm to you or to others, or during regular consultations with your therapist’s supervisor. Some of your personal information such as website visits, telephone call data, or payment information, is shared with the website provider, mobile phone operator, or card payment provider, respectively. These providers operate under their own privacy policies, and these can be provided upon request.
Can I ask for a copy of the personal information that you store about me?
Yes. The DPA gives you the right to find out what information that we store about you by requesting a copy of it. Any request that you make to obtain a copy of the personal information that we hold about you is called a ‘Subject Access Request’. You can request a subject access form at any time via telephone, email, or in person. We must respond to your request without delay, and usually within one month at the latest.
Can I request that you delete my personal information?
Yes. This is known in the new legislation as the Right to Erasure. You can request a right to erasure form at any time via telephone, email, or in person. There may be an administrative charge for this. We may also have the right to refuse to comply with your request, for example in order for the therapist to defend in a claim situation, or to comply with our insurance terms and conditions, and we will let you know our response to your request within one month of receiving it.
Can I object or complain about the processing of my personal information by At Ease Counselling & Psychotherapy?
Yes. Whilst we hope that the policy outlined above will be sufficient to reassure you of the security of your personal information, should you wish to object or complain about the way that your personal information is being handled by us, then do please feel free to communicate this to us at the earliest possible opportunity. we will do our best to address your concerns and take steps to try and resolve whatever issues you may raise. You can contact us at any time to request a complaint form via telephone, email, or in person.
Should you wish to take the matter further, you can contact the Information Commissioner’s Office by visiting https://ico.org.uk/make-a-complaint/your-personal-information-concerns/ or you can call 0303 1231 123.
Review date: 10 June 2021