At The Clearing we understand how important your privacy is. We take care to maintain your confidentiality in accordance with current data protection laws (GDPR, 2018) and the ethical guidelines of the British Psychological Society (BPS), the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) and the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). These guidelines have been set up to protect your confidential material and ensure that your therapist always conducts themselves with professionalism and integrity.
In order to provide you with the best service possible, we will hold your personal contact details and records of your therapy sessions. Please find below important information about how this information will be held and used.
Your personal information
We use the secure, encrypted & password protected practice management platform, Kiku (wearekiku.com) to collect & store your personal data. At the point of booking your initial consultation with us, you will be asked for your personal contact information, for example your name, address, email address and telephone number & you may also choose to share details of the issues you are looking for help with.
Your contact information is stored securely in Kiku and on a password protected database; and can only be accessed by the admin team and your therapist.
In order to be able to fulfil our duty of care to you, in your initial consultation or first treatment session, your therapist will ask you for contact information for your GP and elected Emergency Contact person. These details will be stored securely in Kiku and will only be accessible to your therapist or our administrator.
This personal information will be held for the duration of your therapy after which it will be deleted from the Kiku database.
Please note that we will need to keep a record of your name and client reference number for seven years after the end of your therapy, so that we can respond effectively to any potential requests regarding your clinical notes and treatment.
We will never pass on your contact details to any third party organisations for the purposes of sales, marketing or research and will never use your personal data for any purposes other than the administration of the counselling service we are providing to you i.e. to arrange, cancel and rearrange appointments and collect payment for sessions.
When you make an online booking or payment Kiku will send a booking notification to your therapist via the Kiku messaging system.
Payments are processed via Stripe.com, who send our office an email to confirm payment. This email contains your email address only.
The HMRC requires that we retain this information for 5 years after the end of the financial year.
Your payment details
All payments made through our website theclearing.org.uk are made through the secure Stripe Connect server. Our website therefore does not hold your payment information. Where you have made payment for your session over the phone, our admin team will never keep a record of your card details. Your information is inputted directly into the card payment portal and no written record will be taken.
Your therapy sessions
Everything that you discuss with your therapist is confidential. Confidentiality will only be broken if there is concern about your safety or the safety of someone else or we are instructed to do so by a Court of Law. We will always endeavour to speak to you about this first.
During remote working your therapist will ensure that they are conducting online & telephone sessions in a quiet, private & confidential setting. We have selected video calling platforms that offer end to end encryption to ensure maximum privacy. Please note however that we cannot be held responsible for any breaches that occur due to failures in this technology.
Your therapist discusses their clinical work with a supervisor. This is to ensure that they are offering you the best service possible. These conversations are bound by confidentiality and you will only be referred to by your first name.
Your therapist will also keep notes of each session. These are anonymised and are stored in a locked filing cabinet or within a password protected file within the secure Kiku system (wearekiku.com). These notes are for your therapist’s use only and help to keep a track of everything that is being discussed. In line with industry guidelines, these notes will be kept securely for up to seven years after your therapy comes to an end. After this time, they will be confidentially destroyed.
If your sessions are paid for or arranged via a third party, (e.g. your employer, a friend, or a family member), other than payment requests, invoices or receipts, your counselling information will not be shared. Details about what is discussed in your sessions will remain confidential between you and your therapist. Any other information can only be shared if you give us your written consent to do so.
Your communications with us
All of our email accounts use the secure Google Workspace server and are double password protected If you send an email to your therapist’s email address, only they will have access to it.
All phones, tablets and laptops used to respond to your emails are encrypted, fully protected with anti-virus software and password protected.
We will only use your email address and telephone number to contact you about your appointments. Your therapist may also contact you directly via email in order to share information with you that is pertinent to your therapeutic process.
Your phone number may also be used to issue appointment reminders via text message. You can opt in or out of text updates using your free Kiku account.
Any personal data retained by our service or your therapist is kept in accordance with the GDPR, 2018.
Under these guidelines you have the following rights
- The right to request access to your data
You can request to view the information that we hold about you (contact details, appointment logs etc.) at any time. If during therapy you would like to see your session notes, please make this request to your therapist directly. Should you require a copy of your notes after your therapy has come to an end you can make this request by emailing our office at email@example.com or calling us on 07514084909
- The right of rectification
At any point during your time at The Clearing or during the seven years thereafter, while we retain your records, you have the right to request amendments to your contact details or session notes. This right can be exercised either by speaking directly to your therapist or by contacting our office.
- The right to be forgotten
You can request that we delete and confidentially destroy the information that we hold about you and your sessions at any time. This request can be made by contacting our admin office.
Instances where we would not be able to comply with your request are as follows:
- a) It is necessary for us to retain these records in order to continue providing an effective service
- b) We are compelled to retain these records by a Court of Law
- c) We require these records in order to establish, exercise or defend legal claims
When you book your first session with us via Kiku, you will be asked to provide a digital signature and tick a checkbox to confirm that you consent to the storage and processing of your personal data for the purposes of providing therapeutic services.
You are entitled to withdraw this consent at any time and can do so by emailing our office at firstname.lastname@example.org
Breaches of data protection
In the event of any breach of our data protection policies, we will notify you and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) within 72 hours and will seek to rectify this immediately.
Should you have any concerns about our data protection practices, you can raise these directly with your therapist &/or admin team. You can also notify the Information Commissioner’s Office. We are registered with ICO as The Clearing Circle LLP trading as The Clearing.