The cornerstone of the work undertaken in counselling is the therapeutic alliance between the client and the therapist. Developing trust in this relationship is crucial for the quality of work entered into and the client’s process. Nevertheless in accordance with the Code of Ethics and Practice laid down by The Irish Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy there are a couple of important limitations to the confidentiality of the therapy:
One exception would be if I believe you are going to cause harm to yourself or others but I will endeavour to obtain your permission before a breach of confidentiality in this circumstance. Similarly we would also discuss the best way to proceed if I am informed of unreported child sex abuse where the abuser is still alive, as I am legally and ethically obligated to report this, regardless of when the abuse occurred.
Regular supervision ensures the quality and effectiveness of my work is maintained and supported, with any personal details which might make the client identifiable to my supervisor being withheld.
For privacy purposes case notes containing very brief factual summaries of each session are stored in secure filing cabinets independently of client names and addresses. Client files are the property of Waterford Counselling Centre and are retained for 7 years. I am the only person with access to this information but under the Data Protection Act (1998) you can access your own file by following a specific procedure.
Please note that beyond the stringent measures taken to protect my clients’ privacy I can accept no responsibility for any breaches of confidentiality due to unsolicited contact made via any means of electronic communication.