What is confidentiality?
Confidentiality means that any information (written or verbal) about you is held in confidence and not used improperly. This includes your name, address, telephone number, family details, personal details, issues, and anything that you discuss within your sessions.
What we think about confidentiality…
We take confidentiality seriously, and we are committed to protecting and safeguarding the confidentiality of our clients. Ongoing Support believes that confidentiality is the essential feature of any therapeutic relationship, and it is a crucial part of maintaining trust and professionalism with each individual client, couple and family.
How we will address confidentiality in our practice…
- We will maintain confidentiality by not not passing information about clients to a third party, other than a supervisor who will not be informed of name, and who is also bound by client confidentiality, or unless permission is given by the client.
- Client, staff and volunteer files will be kept in a locked filing cabinet when not being used, or information held on computer will be pass-worded (this will include sent/received e-mails).
- We will maintain a direct self-referral process, even when a third party professional may be involved.
- We will ensure that all employees/volunteers of Ongoing Support will be aware of what confidentiality is, and its implication by law. This will be done through ongoing training and supervision.
- We will ensure that all employees/volunteers will have read this policy, and will behave in a way that maintains client confidentiality at all times.
- We will keep updated on confidentiality law in this country, and amend this policy as necessary.
- We will act immediately if confidentiality has been breached within Ongoing Support, and where necessary we will follow our disciplinary procedures.
We also realise that client confidentiality is not an absolute, and there may be circumstances where confidentiality is broken for both legal and circumstantial reasons.
Legal reasons may be:
- By a court order – Even in these circumstances, we would keep as much information confidential as is possible.
- Life or death – If a client has attempted/attempts/threatens to harm somebody else. If a client has attempted/attempts/threatens to harm themselves. In these situations we will value ‘life’ over confidentiality.
- Abuse – Where we may need to protect the client, a child, or any other individual who may be known to be currently being abused. Please refer to our Child Protection Policy for more details.
Circumstantial reasons may be:
- Theft – obtaining unauthorised access to a client’s file, via breaking entry or internet crime.
- Overheard conversations – This could happen in almost any environment (home, office, therapy room, hired premises etc) and circumstances (during sessions, supervision, client chatting with family/friends about his/her session or issues)
- Being seen – either arriving/leaving a session or other premises where therapy is known to be conducted, or therapist seen to be visiting a personal home environment.
For your information
Ongoing Support follows the Data Protection Act in order to protect against breaches of confidentiality.
Please let us know if you are concerned about your confidentiality, if you would like more information, or if there is something that you feel should be included in our Confidentiality Policy.