At Unveil counselling we follow frame work with an awarding body of BACP & NCS
What dose Safegurding/confidentiality mean in therapyTherapeutic setting
Here at Unveil counselling we as counsellors have due of care for our clients. Some times we do have make a judgment for our client for their wellbeing.
We will give careful consideration to how we manage situations when protecting clients or others from serious harm or when compliance with the law may require overriding a client’s explicit wishes or breaching their confidentiality
In exceptional circumstances, the need to safeguard our clients or others from serious harm may require us to override our commitment to making our client’s wishes and confidentiality our primary concern. We may need to act in ways that will support any investigations or actions necessary to prevent serious harm to our clients or others. In such circumstances, we will do our best to respect the parts of our client’s wishes or confidences that do not need to be overridden in order to prevent serious harm.We will protect the confidentiality and privacy of clients by:
a. actively protecting information about clients from unauthorised access or disclosure
b. informing clients about how the use of personal data and information that they share with us will be used and who is within the circle of confidentiality, particularly with access to personally identifiable information
c. requiring that all recipients of personally identifiable information have agreed to treat such information as confidential in accordance with any legal requirements and what has been agreed with the client at the time of disclosure
d. informing clients about any reasonably foreseeable limitations of privacy or confidentiality in advance of our work together, for example, communications to ensure or enhance the quality of work in supervision or training, to protect a client or others from serious harm including safeguarding commitments, and when legally required or authorised to disclose
e. taking care that all contractual requirements concerning the management and communication of client information are mutually compatible
f. ensuring that disclosure of personally identifiable information about clients is authorised by client consent or that there is a legally and ethically recognised justification
g. using thoroughly anonymised information about clients where this provides a practical alternative to sharing identifiable information.All communications concerning clients made in the context of supervision will be consistent with confidentiality agreements with the clients concerned.
Exceptions to confidentiality in therapy
A counsellor cannot be legally bound to confidentiality about a crime. Courts have concluded that it is defensible to breach confidence, in good faith, in order to assist the prevention or detection of a crime. However, there is no general duty to report crime except in specific circumstances. There is also no general obligation to answer police questions about a client. A polite refusal on the grounds of confidentiality is sufficient if this is considered appropriate, but deliberately giving misleading information is likely to constitute an offence. (There is specific home office guidance for counsellors working with addicts or offenders -
What counts as serious crime. ‘Murder, manslaughter, rape, treason, kidnapping, child abuse or other cases where individuals have suffered serious harm may all warrant breaching confidentiality. Serious harm to the security of the state or to public order and crimes that involve substantial financial gain and loss will generally fall within this category.
The Terrorism Act 2000 makes it a criminal offence for a person to fail to disclose, without reasonable excuse, any information which he either knows or believes might help prevent another person carrying out an act of terrorism or might help in bringing a terrorist to justice in the UK.
A court may order disclosure, or order the therapist to attend court and to bring notes and records with them. Refusal to answer the questions of the court may constitute contempt of the court. Therapists may be asked to produce a report for court relating to work with a client. Consent should be obtained direct from the client wherever possible and in writing. Clients may ask to see the reports written about them, and in accordance with the legislation on Human Rights, GDPR, Freedom of Information clients should have access to their reports in the same way as records, unless there is a cogent reason in their interest or that of the public not to do so.
Requirements to produce counselling records
Family courts dealing with child protection cases have different rules of evidence from other civil and criminal courts. They may order the production of documents including personal medical reports which would otherwise have been protected from disclosure.
The police acting on behalf of the Crown Prosecution Service and usually with the written consent of the client, may seek access to therapy and counselling notes. This is most likely to happen if they contain reports of allegations of rape or sexual abuse.
Disclosures to enhance the quality of service provided
Technically, it may constitute a breach of confidence when counsellors discuss cases in counselling supervision, training and research.
A ‘child’ is defined as a person under the age of eighteen. The Children's Act 1989 (CA 1989) in conjunction with subsequent legislation including the Children's Act 2004, places a statutory duty on health, education and other services to co-operate with local authorities in child protection. There is a statutory duty to work together, including information sharing, in conducting initial investigations of children who may be in need or subject to abuse.
Clients at risk of suicide or serious self-harm
Responding appropriately to suicidal clients creates one of the most challenging situations encountered by counsellors. As there is no general duty to rescue in British law, counsellors need to be explicit about reserving the power to breach confidentiality for a suicidal adult client. To do so without explicit agreement may constitute an actionable breach of confidence.
A therapist who knows that a client is likely to harm himself or others but who will not give consent for referral must carefully consider the ethics of going against the client’s known wishes and also the possible consequences for their client of either referral or non-referral.
Discuss with the client if appropriate, and ideally also discuss in supervision.
At Unveil counselling we will do safely plan for our client and go though this with them and the client will know what information will be past on and to who. Counsellor will follow the safe plan that is put in place with client how have suicidal or have suicidal thoughts.
Counsellors’ professional responsibility requires that they must act within the area of their personal expertise, and should consider their own limitations. The implication of this is that when they reach the limits of their expertise, consideration should be given to referral on with the client’s consent. If the client does not consent to referral on and if the client or others may be at risk of harm, the therapist should address the issues listed above in supervision and with their professional organisation and/or other professional advice.
If a client consents to referral on or to a change in the confidentiality agreed with them at the outset of the work with their therapist, then there is little likelihood of any ground for legal or other action against the therapist if the actions then taken are with the full knowledge and consent of the client. If possible, obtain the client’s explicit consent. Implicit or implied consent may be relied upon by the therapist, but it can be nebulous and is rather more difficult to prove.
In the event of a complaint or legal action, both therapist and client are best protected by a therapeutic contract with terms including explicit consent, which are evidenced in writing.
Mental capacity and consent
Mental capacity is a legal concept of a person’s ability to make rational, informed decisions. It is presumed in law that adults and children over the age of sixteen have the mental capacity and legal power to give or withhold consent in medical and health care matters.
The clients rights in counselling/Therapy
What you the client have rights to
There counsellor or therapy will talk to you about
To know the extent and limitations of the confidentiality
Counsellor will discuss the circumstances in which the therapist may wish to breach confidentiality
To have a clear therapeutic contract with terms which they fully understand, accept and support
To know who will make, keep and have access to their notes and records, how they will be kept, for how long they will be retained and for what purposes they may be retained/destroyed/disclosed.
To be informed of circumstances when the therapist may have to or is about to breach their confidentiality (unless there are defensible reasons why this cannot be the case, in cases of certain child protection or mental incapacity)
To know how, why and to whom information will be given by the therapist
To know the import of and/or see what is being said about the client if that client so wishes