Privacy Policy

Your privacy is very important to me and you can be confident that your personal information will be kept safe and secure and will only be used for the purpose it was given to me. I adhere to current data protection legislation, including the General Data Protection Regulation (EU/2016/679) (the GDPR), the Data Protection Act 2018 and the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003.

This privacy notice tells you what I will do with your personal information from initial point of contact through to after your therapy has ended, including:

  • Why I process your information and for what purpose
  • Why you have to provide it to me
  • How long I store it for
  • Whether anybody else will have access to your personal information

I am happy to chat through any questions you may have about my data protection policy and you can contact me via counsellingcottage@gmail.com.

‘Data controller’ is ther term used to describe the person/organisation that collects, stores, and has responsibility for people’s personal data. In this instance, the data controller is me.

I am registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office (registration number A8625081).

My postal address is: Rose Cottage, Beauty Bank, Whitegate, Northwich, Cheshire, CW8 2BP. My phone number is 07484 256096. My email address is counsellingcottage@gmail.com.

My lawful basis for holding and using your personal information

The GDPR states that I must have a lawful basis for processing your personal data. There are different lawful bases depending on the stage at which I am processing your data. I have explained these below:

If you have had counselling with me and it has now ended, I will use legitimate interest as my lawful basis for holding and using your personal information.

If you are currently having counselling with me or if you are in contact with me to consider therapy, I will process your personal data where it is necessary for the performance of our contract.

The GDPR also makes sure that I look after any sensitive personal information that you may disclose to me appropriately. This type of information is called ‘special category personal information’. The lawful basis for me processing any special categories of personal information is that it is for provision of health treatment (in this case, counselling) and necessary for a contract with a health professional (in this case, a contract between me and you).

How I use your information

Initial Contact

When you contact me with an enquiry about my counselling services, I will collect information to help me satisfy your enquiry. This will include your name, a preferred contact telephone number and your email address. If you decide not to proceed, I will ensure all your personal data is deleted within six months. If you would like me to delete this information sooner, just let me know.

While you are accessing counselling

I would like to assure you that everything you discuss with me is confidential. That confidentiality will only be broken if I believe you or another may be at risk of harm, or if you make me aware of terrorist activities, drug trafficking or money laundering. I will always try to inform you first unless there are safeguarding issues that prevent this.

I will require further personal data from you, during or before our first session; namely, living address, date of birth, GP information and next of kin, as well as your reason for seeking help. I will keep a record of your personal details to help the counselling service run smoothly. These details are kept in a secure cabinet and are not shared with any third party.

I will keep written notes of each session which will be coded and kept separate from your personal details to avoid identification, in the highly unlikely event that your personal details are discovered. For security reasons, I do not retain text messages for more than one month. If there is relevant information contained in a text message, I will record this either with your personal information or separately with your case notes. Likewise, any email correspondence will be deleted after one month and any relevant information transferred as per text message information.

After counselling has ended

Once counselling has ended, your records will be kept for twelve months from the end of our contact with each other and are then securely destroyed. If you would like me to delete your information sooner than this, please tell me.

Third party recipients of personal data

There are no third party recipients of your personal data.

Your rights

I try to be as open as I can in terms of giving people access to their personal information. You have a right to ask me to delete your personal information, to limit how I use your personal information, or to stop processing your personal information. You also have a right to ask for a copy of any information that I hold about you and to object to the use of your personal data in some circumstances. You can read more about your rights at ico.org.uk/your-data-matters.

If I do hold information about you, I will:

  • give you a description of it and where it came from;
  • tell you why I am holding it, tell you how long I will store your data and how I made this decision;
  • tell you who it could be disclosed to;
  • let you have a copy of the information in an intelligible form.

You can also ask me at any time to correct any mistakes there may be in the personal information I hold about you.

To make a request for any personal information I may hold about you, please put the request in writing addressing it to counsellingcottage@gmail.com.

If you have any complaint about how I handle your personal data please do not hesitate to get in touch with me by writing or emailing to the contact details given above. I would welcome any suggestions for improving my data protection procedures.

If you want to make a formal complaint about the way I have processed your personal information, you can contact the ICO which is the statutory body that oversees data protection law in the UK. For more information, go to ico.org.uk/make-a-complaint.

Data security

I take the security about the data I hold about you very seriously and as such, I take every effort to make sure it is kept secure. Your data is stored in a fire-proof filing cabinet with a code that does not identify you by your personal data.

Visitors to my website

When someone visits my website, I use a third party service (WordPress) to collect standard internet log information and details of visitor behaviour patterns. I do this to find out things such as the number of visitors to the various parts of the site. This information is processed in a way that does not identify anyone. I do not make, and do not allow WordPress to make, any attempt to find out the identities of those visiting my website.

I use legitimate interests as my lawful basis for holding and using your personal information in this way when you visit my website.

I use WordPress analytics so that I can continually improve my service to you. You can read the privacy notice of WordPress’ analytics here INSERT

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