Privacy policy

Acorn Counselling Therapy is committed to ensuring your privacy is protected. We have set out in this Privacy Policy the details of the information that we may collect from you, including how we may use that information and protect it. Please take your time to read this Privacy Policy carefully. The information we collect is in accordance with all laws concerning the protection of personal data, including the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).  As per these laws, Acorn Counselling Therapy is the ‘data controller’, which means we determine the purpose for which, and the manner in which, your data is processed. 

Below you will find a website and digital privacy statement and a practice privacy statement for counselling sessions, which outline the Privacy Policy in more detail.

Website privacy statement - relating to use of website and digital

This website statement applies to: www.acorncounsellingtherapy.com  

We have written this statement to explain what information we gather about you and how your data is used whilst accessing or interacting with any pages belonging to the website www.acorncounsellingtherapy.com

Information collected about you: 

Certain information about you may be collected from you by cookies when using pages from www.acorncounsellingtherapy.com

It may be possible to ascertain certain information about you from the IP address on the computer you use, Acorn Counselling Therapy will not share this information without your prior consent.   

What are Cookies?

Cookies and other small files can be stored on your computer, mobile or other device when you visit a website or use an app. These kind of files include your IP address. The cookie file is added, once you agree for it to be done so and the cookie is used to help analyse web traffic.

Cookies help make your online experience more efficient and relevant to your interests. For instance, they are used to remember your preferences on sites that you visit often, to remember your user ID and to help you to navigate between pages more efficiently. Different types of cookies are used to do different things. They also help us to identify ways to improve your overall site experience and are used to measure the number of your site visits and the most popular pages you visit.

This website uses traffic log cookies to identify which pages are being used. This allows data to be analysed in terms of web page traffic. The information is only used for statistical and analysis purposes by Acorn Counselling Therapy and can inform further improvement and development of the website. A cookie in no way provides access to your computer or any information about you, other than the data you choose to share.

You can choose to set your computer browser to decline the cookies from Acorn Counselling Therapy. How to do this varies depending on your browser. Your website browser’s help facilities should be able to explain how you can do this, although it may prevent you from taking full advantage of the website or links to other websites.

This website contains links to other websites that may be of interest. However, once you have used these links and leave the site, please note that www.acorncounsellingtherapy.com does not have any control over other websites and cannot be responsible for the protection and privacy of any information which you provide whilst visiting these sites and, as such, these sites are not governed by this privacy statement. You should exercise caution and look at the privacy statement applicable to the website you visit.

Practise privacy statement – relating to all contact (excluding website and digital apps)

Acorn Counselling Therapy is committed to protecting your privacy and this statement sets out to explain how your data is used when contacting us by phone or email. It contains information on data that would be collected about you if you were to book an appointment and undertake sessions with us, and also explains any limitations to confidentiality. The data that is held about you is specifically only used for the purposes of counselling. We retain information about you for seven years from the date of your last appointment, before it is securely destroyed. This is necessary in order to comply with the counselling organisations that we have membership with and with the provider of our professional indemnity insurance. When visitig our website your computers IP address will be accessible.

What kind of personal data about you is retained, where we keep it and for how long?

We initially collect the following data, in accordance with this privacy policy;

• Your name

• Date of birth

• Gender

• Contact information such as postal address, email address and phone number

• Healthcare provider details and emergency contact details.

(These notes are all kept separate from online session notes and stored in a locked cabinet).

We collect the data from you personally, and from data that is collected automatically. We collect data when you contact us through our website, by email, by phone and other means. 
 

We collect data from you at assessment

• Initial assessment record – We write notes relating to the initial meeting, such as your reasons for starting counselling; these notes are stored in a locked cabinet and do not have any of your personal details on them. 
• At the assessment you will be asked to sign an informed consent form which gives us permission to process your data, also information about your healthcare provider and emergency contact details. 

During counselling

• Session notes – After each session we make brief notes of the salient points; these are stored on ‘Writeupp’. The notes are anonymised so that no one would know who the notes relate to. ‘Writeupp’ is a computer programme that complies with GDPR.
 

Other information we store

• Bank statements -  these will show your name if you pay by bank transfer;
• Invoices – retained for 5 years after the 31 January submission deadline of the relevant tax year (as per HMRC regulations);
• Enquiry emails – enquiries from potential clients are kept for 6 months before being deleted.

How we store your information

• Your name, telephone number and email address are stored on the counsellor’s smartphone and laptop for the duration of the work you do together so that you can be contacted. The information is deleted as soon as the work ends. Both the smartphone and laptop of the counsellor are password protected. 

• Paper documents relating to the counselling work with you are stored in a locked cabinet. 

Will your information be shared?

We do not share your personal information with anyone else, unless in pursuit of counselling on your behalf and only then if we have your permission to do so. In exceptional circumstances we may be required by law and our ethical responsibilities to break our confidentiality with you. We would discuss this with you first wherever possible but if you do not give consent, we may still have to disclose information. 

• This relates to situations where we believe you are at risk of harming yourself or others, the safeguarding of children, young people and adults at risk. We reserve the right to break confidentiality in order to prevent harm.

• We are bound by law to report any information we receive concerning terrorism, drug trafficking, or money laundering;
• From time to time we will discuss our work with a clinical supervisor. This is standard practice for counsellors at all levels of experience and it helps counsellors to work ethically and professionally. (Supervision meetings are bound by the same code of ethics and confidentiality as the work we do with you are);
• If we are required by a court of law to give evidence, then me may need to break confidentiality (e.g. in criminal proceedings).                             
• We have a professional will in place so that, if we were incapacitated or were to die, your first name, mobile number and email address would be accessed by one of two trusted clinical psychotherapists so that they could inform you.  This information is stored and encrypted and is deleted as soon as our work ends.

Your rights

You have the right to;

• object to data being collected in relation to you

• Request access or a copy of the personal data that we hold about you, free of charge, in an electronic or paper format;

• Request for any inaccurate or out of date information to be corrected and/or updated;
• Request for your data to be erased if it is no longer necessary for us to retain. Any notes or information that can be linked to identifying them as yours cannot be erased before the 7-year period. Notes are required for us to comply with legal obligations. This makes such information exempt from requests for erasure. However, any other data would be erased at your request;
• Withdraw consent at any time for your information to be processed. Again, with the exemption of note keeping and associated information;
• Request for your data to be portable. This means that your information can be transferred to a different data controller.

• say that you dont want to be subject to automated decision-making including profiling

If you are not satisfied with the way a complaint you make in relation to our Data is handled by us, you may be able to refer your complaint to the relevant data protection authority. In the UK this is the Information Commissioner’s Officers website

 

It is important that the Data we hold about you is accurate and current. Please keep us informed if your Data changes during the period for which we hold it. 

Contact us

Questions, comments and requests regarding this privacy notice, policies and procedures around privacy and confidentiality are welcomed and should be addressed to us by email

This privacy policy was first created on 30 March 2020 and last update 4 May 2020.

 
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