What is the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations, 2018) and how does it affect me?
The GDPR replaces the 1998 Data Protection Act to ensure that your personal and sensitive, confidential data is kept private and held securely, being processed in the way that we have agreed. It is there to protect your rights as a consumer of a service that might involve your identifiable data, e.g. your name and address or whether you have a specific condition. It also covers any session records, text messages or emails we might exchange. For more information you can read the policy documents accessible when signing up for a treatment with me.
How long will you hold my information for?
I am regulated by the FHT and AfSFH, and must hold your data for 8 years after your final session, unless you are a child, in which case I must hold your data until your 25th birthday, or unless you are 17 when treatment ends and then I must keep it until your 26th birthday. Therefore, all records will be deleted in the January after the above retention scales. This is in line with NHS regulations for holding data.
Why do you need to record this information?
I collect information about why you are using the service, a small amount of medical information and a small amount of information about your lifestyle and significant others, (family, friends etc.) alongside brief session notes. This information enables me to provide a high quality service to you, ensuring I am equipped with the knowledge of our previous discussions prior to each session. Your contact details / address and Doctors details will only be used with your explicit consent or under extreme circumstances threatening your safety or the safety of others.
What provision is made to ensure my information is held securely?
- Hardcopy documents
Are all stored in a locked cabinet in a locked and room in a camera surveyed office building. Identifying data such as addresses or email will be held in a separate, password protected document.
- Text messages
My mobile phone is secured with a password and fingerprint and in case of loss I have the ability to delete the content on my phone remotely. Your contact does not identify you as a client.
My email account requires a user name and password, all emails will be encrypted. All emails held by me will be deleted when the content is no longer needed, i.e. has been acted upon or therapy has ended. Securing email correspondence with encryption I have changed my email provider to the very secure ProtonMail.com which is considered one of the securest providers.
- Email attachments
Any attachments sent by email to you containing personal sensitive information would be password protected and encrypted. The password would be sent to you via text message.
- Electronic documents
Any electronic documents e.g. A letter to your GP, or an invoice, are password protected and stored on a password protected computer if they contain personal or sensitive information.
- Appointments in my diary
Only show initials with no other identifying data.
Is what we discuss kept confidential?
Everything we talk about during our sessions is strictly confidential between you and me. To ensure I am doing my job effectively and that I have the right support, I may discuss elements of our sessions with my supervisor*. During these discussions I do not disclose any details that may identify you to my supervisor, and my supervisor also adheres to the GDPR.
*supervisors are specially trained hypnotherapists with whom therapists can discuss client issues if they wish but are not obliged to do so. No names or information that would identify a client would be disclosed.
What if I see you outside of the session?
To ensure your confidentiality, if we see each other socially, or outside of our sessions I will not engage in any conversation regarding your therapy. You are welcome to talk with other people about the therapy you are receiving, but I am obligated by GDPR law to ensure that your confidentiality is protected.
What if I don’t want my records to be held for that long?
Under the GDPR you can make a request in writing to me, for all your records to be deleted. In this case I would contact my insurance company and if they agreed to it, all your paper records would be shredded with a cross shredding machine and any electronic data such as emails or text messages would be permanently deleted from the devices they are stored on. I would have to save the request for deletion that you made but would not save any other data.
What happens to my information if anything happens to you, the therapist so you cannot continue with my treatment?
In the event of the therapist being incapable of continuing with your treatment, e.g. because of illness or death, you will be contacted by a trusted person who will also respect rules of confidentiality. You will then be given the option of being put in touch with another therapist for continuation of your sessions.
What happens if you, the therapist, are temporarily incapacitated so you cannot keep an appointment?
If possible, I will contact you myself, otherwise a trusted colleague will inform you.
What happens if you, the therapist, die during the period of my treatment or are unable to continue due to serious illness?
All client notes would be transferred to another local therapist, who would inform you and give you the option of continuing your therapy with him/her.
What about passing on information to other Health and Social Care Professionals?
As I adhere to the GDPR, any contact, relating to you, with other health care professionals would only be made with your signed consent, e.g. If I were to write to your GP to notify them of your treatment with me, and to notify them of the treatment ending. This would only happen if it seemed that it would be particularly beneficial to you or if I need verification that Hypnotherapy is suitable for you. I would only do this if you were to sign the specific consent for this at the time, if such a decision is made.
In order to safeguard you and the people around you, if you were to disclose that you were going to carry out harm to yourself or someone else, then under my “Duty of Care” I am obligated by law to inform the relevant authorities. I would always aim to discuss this with you prior to contacting anyone.
If I was issued with a police warrant or court order for information about you, by law I would also have to provide them with the information.