My name is Dr Rachel Lewis and I am a registered member of the Health and Care Professions Council (registration number PYL34079). In order to maintain a safe caring and effective service, it is important that I maintain careful records. These records will comprise contact information and notes taken after each session. No information is processed automatically.
Notes from each session are kept using client management software according to current laws on data protection. They help me to reflect upon my work and can provide a focus for later sessions. Care is taken, at all times, to keep any identifying information separate. Therefore, in my notes, I use initials to identify my clients. Session notes are stored for seven years and then deleted.
Client contact information is only collected with the consent of the client. It is stored in a secure place and kept separately from any session notes so that details from the session can not be linked to the names and identities of the clients. Client contact information is stored for the duration of therapy and then deleted.
The contents of session notes may be shared in supervision with one other qualified and experienced professional. This is to ensure that I am working safely and to the best of my ability. No identifying information about my clients is shared in supervision.
Only I have access to client contact information. The only time this would be different is in the event where I am indisposed and unable to contact my clients to cancel or reschedule a session. In such an event, client contact information will be made available to one other trusted professional. This will be someone who is able to act within the law on data protection and within the ethical code of our governing body (the British Psychological Society).
Unfortunately, there are no methods of communicating, outside of sessions, that are 100% secure. Yet in order to maintain an efficient service there may be times when such contact is necessary. This may be done by email or by text message and will only be in the service of cancelling or rescheduling a meeting. No other information will be communicated by email or text. It is important, that in agreeing to therapy, clients accept to receive the occasional emails or text from me.
In rare events, I may become worried about the safety of my client or of someone in their life. In these instances, I will do my utmost to be clear about my legal and ethical responsibilities (British Psychological Society) and to work with my client and supervisor to decide on the best course of action.
As stated above, all identifying personal information, is kept in the form of client contact information. It must be understood that clients have a right to know what type of information this is and to know whether this is in the form of an email address, phone number or mailing address. They have a right to see it and to demand that it be rectified in the event of it being inaccurate. They have a right to limit the contact details that are kept about them or have it deleted. They also have a right to obtain and reuse it for their own purposes. Clients have an absolute right to object to the way such information is collected, stored or maintained. In such an event, clients can raise a complaint with me and I will act swiftly within the law.