Confidentiality

Counselling confidentiality policy

As a provider of quality counselling, consulting and/or coaching services it is necessary to lawfully collect and record relevant personal information. This policy outlines the confidentiality principles, laws, and codes of practice under which Linda Magson Counselling operates. We will never use or disclose official, health or personal information without proper authority or for purposes that breach privacy law.

Codes of practice

As a registered counsellor with the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA) and a Clinical Member of the Counsellors’ and Psychotherapists’ Association of NSW (CAPA) your counsellor adheres to these associations’ ethical codes and confidentiality principles as well as to the legal requirements of the National Privacy Principles 2006, the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002 and the Code of Conduct for Health Professionals NSW 2005.

Collection of information

Personal information will only be collected when it is lawful to do so and when directly related to the counsellor role and the activity of managing the service. Information will only be collected from you directly when it is relevant.

Data quality, security and flow

All personal information you supply should be accurate and up to date. Linda Magson Counselling will take reasonable steps to securely protect your personal information from misuse and loss and from unauthorised access, modification and disclosure. Reasonable steps will be taken to destroy personal information no longer needed.

Storage of information

Your information will remain confidential, private and securely stored, and will be securely disposed of after five years. It will be protected from unauthorised access, use and disclosure.

Access and accuracy

This policy informs you of what personal information will be stored, the reason this information is being collected and what will be done with that information. You have the right to access your information with reasonable notice. You will be allowed to update, correct or amend your personal information where necessary.

Use and disclosure

You have a legal right to expect that any personal or health information held about you will not be disclosed inappropriately to others without your informed consent. Your information will be limited to the purpose for which it is collected and Linda Magson Counselling will not use information supplied by you for one purpose for another.

Your permission will be sought for direct marketing communication from Linda Magson Counselling. In each communication a prominent option will be displayed for you to express your wish not to receive any further direct marketing.

In some situations, disclosure of personal or health information may be necessary where there is a serious and imminent threat to an individual’s life, health or safety, or a threat to public health or safety. Disclosure is required if withholding certain health information could affect the life, health and safety of a genetic relative.

In a counselling contract, limits to confidentiality are explained and issued in the form of a written contract. These situations are:

  1. When subpoenaed by court, or
  2. When required by law (e.g. Mandatory Reporting for child protection, unlawful activity), or
  3. When failure to disclose information would place you or another person at risk of serious harm, or
  4. When your prior approval has been gained for authority to release information to a nominated person.

Openness

This policy sets out how personal information will be managed, what sort of information will be held, for what purposes, and how it is collected, held, and used.

Identifiers and anonymity

For your protection Linda Magson Counselling will not use an individual identifier either assigned by them or assigned to you by another agency. You are entitled to access and use this website or service anonymously where lawful and practicable.

Wherever lawful and practicable you have the option of not identifying yourself on the website contact information.

Transfer and linkage of sensitive information

Transfer of personal information to an organisation in Australia or overseas will only be allowed with your consent and will occur in a controlled way. Your express informed consent is needed for authority to transfer information to other organisations. Such information will only be sought when necessary to uphold the law and its statutes.

Indemnity

Every care has been taken to ensure the information in this policy is accurate and based on current law and best practice. Linda Magson Counselling cannot accept any claims arising from error or misinterpretation.

Currency

This confidentiality policy was last updated on 26 June 2011. It is advisable to check this policy information when revisiting the website as there may be some changes to reflect best practice and current statutory and legal requirements.