We are very conscious of the need for privacy, and we take the issue of confidentiality very seriously. All of our counsellors abide by our strict and professional confidentiality code. You should note that we do not offer confidentiality for anything posted one one of our social networking sites as they can be viewed by anyone. When you contact us initially, whether by telephone, text, email or face to face, we offer reasonable privacy but not confidentiality. The responsibility of what to say, how to say it, and by what method to say it is yours. Please realise that more than one ACAPS employee could see your initial request, or that it might be discussed between therapists e.g. in order to accomodate your choice of day or time for an assessment. If you disclose something in an initial message that breaches our confidentiality code, we may be legally or ethically bound to tell someone else (e.g. police, social services) but we do not make any promise to inform you of this. If you are uncertain, it may be best to speak to us about confidentiality *before* discussing your issues.
At the assessment session, we will discuss confidentiality in more depth with you. Registration forms will have your full name and some personal information on them. Assessment notes and/or forms will have a reference code allocated to you and only that or your first name will appear on those and any further notes or questionnaires that we ask you to complete (at assessment or during counselling). These two types of paperwork will be stored securely and independently from each other. The therapist who conducts your assessment will not necessarily be the person that you then see for treatment, so please be mindful that both would see this information.
What you say to your counsellor is confidential. What this means in practice is that apart from the most extreme of circumstances, outlined below, what you tell the counsellor will not be disclosed to anyone else without your permission. We will not even confirm to anyone else that you are attending or have attended counselling.
ACAPS Counsellors discuss their work with a supervisor who supports them, and with other counsellors within the practice for purpose of peer supervision and support. Work is discussed in such a way that your identity is protected and not disclosed.
The circumstances when your counsellor will need to breach confidentiality are:
* when you are at risk of serious harm, whether that is by someone else or from yourself
* when a risk of serious harm or significant potential harm to a third person is disclosed or suspected
* when your behaviour is affecting adversely the legal rights of other people
* when your counsellor is being placed in a position in which his/her professional integrity is compromised
* when disclosure is required by law.
Usually in such circumstances your counsellor will discuss the situation with you before breaching confidence. If this is not possible, you will be told what information has been disclosed as soon as possible. We do however reserve the right to breach confidentialtiy without your consent and without informing you before or afterwards, if we feel legally or ethicaly obliged to do so. Breaching confidentiality could mean us speaking to the police, social services, your GP or another body that we consider to be appropriate.