The Online Counselling Service acknowledges that your privacy is very important. We take care to maintain client confidentiality in accordance with Counselling and Psychotherapy guidelines. These guidelines serve to protect your confidential material and ensure the integrity and professionalism of your Counsellor.
Fair Collection use of personal information
Before Online and Telephone Sessions begin, the client's personal information may be collected, for example client name, age, address, email address, messenger ID, or telephone number as well as details of your issue. This information is accessed by the Admin team and your assigned Counsellor. The Online Counselling Service will only collect information that is considered necessary for the effectiveness of online and telephone counselling, psychotherapy and coaching.
The assigned Counsellor may keep information about their current and former clients stored in a secure file in order to keep a record of their sessions. These files can only be accessed by the Counsellor and no one else. Furthermore:
- All email accounts are double password protected and fully encrypted. If you send an email to your Counsellor’s email address, only they will have access to it.
- For our VoIP and Instant Chat sessions, we use additional software that encrypts and authenticates messages.
- All phones, tablets, laptops, or storage devices required to conduct or aid Counselling sessions have anti-virus and/or double password protect locks. When they are not in use for sessions, they are also kept securely in a locked pin access compartment safe that only your Counsellor has the password for.
- The compartment safe is further kept secure in a locked room and/or locked cabinet that only your Counsellor has access to, this is to ensure your privacy and meet ethical guidelines.
Use and Disclosure
The Online Counselling Service may ask for and collect information that is necessary for the outcome of positive online and telephone sessions. The use of information is to provide the best possible service to the client, to be there as a support, to protect the safety and well being of the individual client.
The Online Counselling Service will only disclose personal information if necessary; if the person either Counsellor or client is at risk of harm; if there is a suspected case of child abuse or alleged child abuse, known or suspected case of adult or elder abuse, or if there is a threat to self harm.
Upon receipt of a subpoena from a judge in a UK court of law, your Counsellor will be bound by British Law to release your records. It is therefore important that you let your Counsellor know of any impending court case.
*If your sessions are paid for or arranged via a third party, eg a friend, partner, spouse or family member, other than payment requests, invoices or receipts your counselling information will not be shared. Details about what is discussed in your sessions remain confidential between you and your Counsellor. Any other information can only be shared with the consent of the client (person receiving counselling).
*If your sessions are paid for or arranged via your employer, company, charity or organisation the only information that will be shared is payment requests, invoices, receipts and confirmation that your counselling sessions are taking place with OCS. Details about what is discussed in your sessions remain confidential between you and your Counsellor. Any other information can only be shared with the consent of the client (person receiving counselling).
The Online Counselling Service keeps all client information confidential. When possible, The Online Counselling Service will advise client's of confidentiality and the importance it has on the individual counselling sessions.
Any discussions during counselling sessions will be strictly confidential. However, there are certain exceptional circumstances in which information may be disclosed to a third party; if a client is at major risk of harm or harming another, or if a Counsellor receives information regarding money laundering or a proposed or actual act of terrorism, he/she is required by British Law to share this information with the police.
Each Counsellor receiving Supervision from a qualified supervisor will always protect your identity.
All work is to highest ethical standards. Your privacy and culture will be respected at all times. Your details and communications will remain confidential between you and your Therapist. We will be obliged to break confidentiality if you have indicated that there is a risk of harm to yourself, or someone else, we are then required by ethics to seek advice and guidance from other professionals. We would of course try to discuss this beforehand with you to obtain your assent.
The Online Counselling Service will always ensure personal information is gathered accurately. The Online Counselling Service will only use your email address for the purpose of online counselling. Your email address will be used as a form of contact in order to book online and telephone appointments and to receive information about our services. The Online Counselling Service may email you to inform you of special offers, important information about the site and the service.
The Online Counselling Service uses a secure system for online counselling, protecting the information that is collected by the client. All email and contact forms are encrypted. All telephone calls are confidential.
Your personal information and contact details will not be shared. If you use the telephone counselling service, you will only be contacted by telephone at pre-booked times. Your telephone number will never be shared with anyone and you will never be contacted by phone at any time other than for pre-arranged sessions.
Any personal data retained by your Counsellor is kept in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998
The Online Counselling Service will provide an anonymous service where you will have the option of being able to use another name for the purpose of online or telephone counselling. You may use a name you feel comfortable with, the choice is up to the individual client.