Extent of Confidentiality
(a) Counsellors, therapists and administrative staff shall treat all communication between counsellor and client as confidential and privileged information, unless the client gives consent to particular information being disclosed.
(b) Counsellors and therapists may discuss, in supervision, information received in counselling as part of the normal management of confidentiality.
(c) Counsellors, therapists and administrative staff should take all reasonable steps to communicate clearly the extent and limits of the confidentiality they offer clients. Any agreement between the counsellor and client about confidentiality may be reviewed and changed by joint negotiation.
(d) Counsellors and therapists, may not in circumstances where therapy begins as couples work and some individual sessions are included or vice versa, release records without permission from both parties.
(e) Counsellors and therapists shall maintain records in sufficient detail to track the sequence and nature of professional services provided. Such records shall be maintained in a manner consistent with ethical practice taking into account statutory, regulatory, agency or institutional requirements.
(f) Counsellors and therapists shall obtain informed consent from clients when writing reports for third parties. Counsellors shall inform clients of their right to access their documentation, to know how this information is being kept and to know who has access to it.
(g) Counsellors, therapists and administrative staff shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that documentation remains retrievable as long as is professionally prudent, or as is required by law.
(h) Counsellors, therapists and administrative staff shall protect clients’ identities when information gained from counselling relationships is used for purposes such as counsellor training, research or audit.
(i) Counsellors, therapists and administrative staff shall respect confidences about the clients of colleagues.
(j) Counsellors, therapists and administrative staff should establish procedures to ensure the on-going management of client confidentiality in the event of the counsellor’s or therapist’s or therapist’s death.
Exceptions to Confidentiality
(a) Counsellors, therapists and administrative staff shall only make exceptions to confidentiality in order to reduce risk.
(b) When Counsellors, therapists and administrative staff need to pass on confidential information, they should provide only the minimum of information necessary and only then to those people to whom it is absolutely necessary.
(c) Exceptions to confidentiality occur when:
• there is serious danger in the immediate or foreseeable future to the client or others,
• the client’s competence to make a decision is impaired,
• legal requirements demand that confidential material be revealed,
• responding to a complaint about counselling practice.
(d) Wherever possible, the decision to make an exception to confidentiality is made:
• after seeking the client’s co-operation, unless doing so would further compromise the safety of the client or others,
• after consultation with a supervisor.
(e) Counsellors and therapists enter into a contract with a client to provide a service and part of that contract is to keep records.
(f) Counsellors and therapists and will not enter into any contract to deliver services where record keeping is not required.
Confidentiality and the Law
(a) Counsellors, therapists and administrative staff are required to work within the ethical and professional requirements of their profession as well as privacy legislation.
(b) Counsellors, therapists and administrative staff are encouraged to seek legal advice about their rights and obligations under the law, when the counsellor’s or therapist’s work with clients involves contact with the legal system.
(c) When issued with a search warrant or subpoena to give evidence in Court, or other legal processes, Counsellors, therapists and administrative staff should pursue the status of privileged communication, in accordance with the client’s wishes, until all legal avenues have been exhausted.
Confidentiality Related to Sign up for Newsletters and Competitions
(a) Information provided by subscribers when signing up to receive our newsletters will not be passed to any other organisation.
(b) Information provided by people entering any competitions the company may choose to hold, will not be passed to any other organisation accept when the terms and conditions of the competition specify this disclosure.
(c) People entering any competitions the company may choose to hold, will be offered the opportunity to either receive or decline to receive further information from the company.