Everything you bring to the Service remains totally confidential apart from in certain exceptional circumstances. We will contact others at your request if appropriate. You may see the records we keep on you. Let us know if you are involved in a court case.
Confidentiality is very important; it forms a foundation for trust to build between you and your practitioner, and that this is essential for you to feel safe when talking about very private and sensitive issues. It is, of course, absolutely fine for you to discuss any aspect of your issues with anyone you choose, although it's probably a good idea to consider how much you share and whom you trust. Under normal circumstances nothing you say to your practitioner will be taken outside of the service - unless you want it to and you tell us explicitly. We won't reveal anything to other university staff - or your family and friends - anything about you, your attendance, or discussions with us, without your permission.
Practitioners are only allowed to pass on information without your permission under exceptional circumstances. These are very rare. However, if we are deeply concerned that there is a serious risk to yourself or others we may need to consult outside of the service, such as your GP or other mental health practitioner. We are therefore unable to guarantee complete confidentiality at these times. In such exceptional circumstances your practitioner will usually, if at all possible, discuss his/her concerns with you in the hope that some agreement can be reached about what is the best course of action. On these rare occasions your practitioner is also likely to consult with another senior colleague to make sure they are following an appropriate course of action.
We have a number of trainee and associate counsellors working within the service. If they have particular concerns about your safety they are required to consult with a permanent service colleague and will not take any further action themselves, other than to discuss with you their reasons for their concerns. It is then likely that a more experienced member of the team will try to speak with you to ensure the best support possible.
All practitioners are required to receive regular supervision where they discuss and reflect upon their work. This ensures that the practitioner is providing the best service possible and offers him/her an opportunity to monitor and assess the quality of their work. These discussions may occur in a small group within the service, or with a supervisor external to the university. Care is taken not to identify any clients, other than by their first name.
Permission to contact others involved in supporting you
Sometimes it is helpful for practitioners to be in touch with others who support you. However, unless we have exceptional concerns, we always seek your permission to be in contact with them and usually ask you to sign a consent form to make this explicit. If, for instance, you are taking prescribed medication, using a mental health service, or had previous therapy we may seek your agreement to liaise with the relevant person. Your practitioner will discuss with you why they think this might be helpful. We often find that you then feel more supported through difficult times.
Access to your records
In keeping with the Data Protection Act (1998) the service aims to provide an open and transparent record system and actively supports students who request access to their personal record. You have the right to see records that are kept about you. This includes all relevant handwritten and computerised documentation.
If you wish to see your notes you can make a formal request under the Data Protection Act.
Access to records by your solicitor
It is possible for you to request that your solicitor accesses your personal records on your behalf - this is most likely for the purposes of legal action (e.g. compensation claims). The service will give due professional and ethical consideration to such requests, but normally respond positively to the release of such documentation provided your consent has been explicitly confirmed. Your solicitor is also entitled, however, to make formal access requests and may use the DPA as a means of discovery.
Contact us on 01792 295592 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information