As a UKCP professional accredited therapist I am committed to their ‘Ethical Principles and Code of Professional Conduct’.
These include a duty of care and confidentiality, as you would expect of any healthcare professional. Specifically in relation to privacy UKCP guidelines say:
• The psychotherapist commits to respect, protect and preserve the confidentiality of their clients.
• The psychotherapist agrees to keep such records as are necessary to properly carry out the type of psychotherapy offered.
• The psychotherapist commits to store and dispose any personally identifiable records or data securely in order to protect the client’s confidentiality.
UKCP do not have a policy on how long records should kept, there being such huge variation in type of practice, but “generally they should not be kept for longer than is necessary”.
I keep only minimal handwritten notes which I write up after our first meeting. These include information you have given me such as your name, age, occupation and contact details. Also where relevant to your therapy your marital status, a summary of family members (parents, siblings, children), presenting issue and a note of anything you have raised regarding your health.
I keep only information that will help me to help you. And when our work is finished I shred my notes.
In order to organize and run my practice I keep a loose leaf paper diary recording date and time of client sessions. This is also periodically shredded.
As a self employed therapist I record session dates and payments in order to calculate my tax due at year end. To this end I maintain a simple excel spreadsheet with a one or two letter abbreviation of your first name. Only summary information of my income and expenses are forwarded to HMRC. I do not transmit any client data to them or any other third party.
If you contact me via email your name and email address will be on my computer system. I periodically delete client names from my computer and from my mobile phone.
Access to any client data I hold is limited to just me. I use IT safeguards such as firewalls and malware to keep all my data safe.
If there’s anything you are concerned about please ask when we meet.