Privacy & Confidentiality

In order for you to have the best success it is important that you know just how private our work together would be.
Should you need to rearrange an appointment you need to do this yourself, this should not be done on your behalf by anyone else.

In your initial consultation we will talk about the best form of communication between sessions, which may even mean no communication at all, not even text message appointment reminders.
Me being your therapist is nobody’s business but yours. Nobody has to know that you are seeing me, not even your spouse or partner.

It may seem petty, but me acknowledging that you are my client to anyone else would not be right. There are occasional exceptions to this and we would discuss whether it would be appropriate in your initial consultation.

Outside of the consulting room there may be occasions where we would see each other within the community.
Feel free to ignore me.
If you acknowledge me first I will acknowledge you out of courtesy, maybe simply with a nod of the head. But I will never make any attempt to initiate any communication or even acknowledge that I know you unless you confirm that it is ok to do so first.

In my clinics I will always do my best to ensure your privacy is maintained, I am deliberately far away from the reception areas and you can be confident that you can speak in confidence. Unfortunately with online sessions there is nothing I can do to protect your privacy in the environment that you’re in.
If you are preparing to see me online rather than face to face then please take any steps required to ensure that you are in a private space where you can’t be overheard and won’t be interrupted.
You may feel more comfortable using headphones rather than your devices speaker.

Data Protection

Data protection and record keeping

It is useful for therapists to be able to keep certain records about their clients. The following explains my policy on data protection.

Session notes

When made, session notes may record background information, techniques taught, and any key issues worked on in the session. These will vary in length and detail. Points of concern are also noted.
It is not essential for therapists to have to make session notes, and in most cases no paperwork will be kept about you.

Access to any notes

Under the Data Protection Act, you have a right of access to all notes kept that relate to you.
If those notes contain references to other individuals these may not be available to the you, as protection is also granted to third parties. It may be important for me to explain to you what my notes contain as some notes are recorded in a coded form for record management purposes. If a file includes a letter or additional information from the person responsible for some other clinical care, usually GP or Psychiatrist, consent from the relevant practitioner must be obtained before the correspondence can be disclosed.

Security

Any notes are kept securely and confidentially and for no longer than is necessary. After 3 years, if a client does not recommence therapy, any paperwork relating to that client is destroyed by shredding and then destroyed either through recycling, burning or eating.
That was a joke, I'm just checking you're paying attention.

Social Media Policy

I am quite active on social media and have devised a policy to clearly set out to you how I operate ethically and professionally on any public forum.

The policy is not just to protect my own privacy but is in place primarily to protect your privacy and confidentiality, as well as to keep our therapeutic relationship ethical.
If you have any questions about this policy then feel free to ask them in our session together or via email.

Facebook
I have a Facebook business page that I use for my podcast promotion and to share mental health related content. I have no expectation that you will follow it though.
I use it to share articles, inspirational quotes and helpful articles about mental health issues. You are free to follow it and even comment on and share the content should you wish, but I will not engage in any psychotherapy help there. If you have any questions relating to your therapy it must be done privately by email.
I do also have a personal Facebook account. It is private and for friends and family only.
I cannot accept friend requests from current or even former clients. Creating a circumstance where a third party would become aware that you were a client of mine, without you explicitly telling them yourself, needs to be avoided.
Becoming ‘friends’ in any sense blurs the boundaries of our therapeutic relationship and goes against the code of ethics of my membership bodies.

Instagram
I have an Instagram business page that I use for podcast promotion and to share mental health related content. I have no expectation that you will follow it though.
I use it to share inspirational quotes, videos and content to encourage a smile. You are free to follow it and even comment on and share the content should you wish, but as with any social media platform I cannot follow you back and I will not engage in any psychotherapy help there. If you have any questions relating to your therapy it must be done privately by email.

Twitter
I use Twitter quite regularly to post and share my own content as well as sharing useful articles or positive content from others. You are free to follow it if you wish but you are NOT expected to and I will not be able to follow you back as it could break confidentiality by creating a circumstance where a third party might become aware that you were a client of mine.
You are welcome to retweet or comment on anything that I have posted, but I will not engage in any psychotherapy help there. If you have any questions relating to your therapy it must be done privately by email.

Cookies

Tasty as real cookies can be the online version of a cookie is less interesting.
A cookie is a file created by your internet browser that tells my website a little about your computer. It enables the site to decide whether or not to try and log you in to the patron only area or not.
The only way the site will know if you’ve already done that before is with a cookie, but if cookies seem a little ‘Orwellian’ to you they can be disabled in your browser settings. Here’s how.