All Counsellors within the Wellbeing & Disability Service abide by a strict Confidentiality Code and the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy’s Code of Ethics. We take your confidentiality most seriously.
Your name will not appear on any notes nor on the questionnaire we ask you to complete; instead there will be a code number allocated to you. Paperwork is stored securely for 6 years after the end of your counselling sessions.
Support services keep records of client appointments on the university’s online diary. Access to personal information on this system is limited to Counselling staff and Manager of the Service. Only relevant information will be shared in extreme circumstances to third parties as outlined in the service’s Confidentiality Code.
It is our policy that you will have an opportunity to discuss the Confidentiality Code in more detail at the beginning of your first counselling appointment.
The PHQ9 Questionnaire
We will ask you to complete a brief Outcome Measure questionnaire at the beginning and end of your counselling. Your name will not appear on the questionnaires and are stored securely for 6 years after the end of your counselling sessions.
Use of this questionnaire during your counselling can help you establish how well we are helping you, and your responses also help us to evaluate the effectiveness of our service on a regular basis. We positively welcome your honest feedback on whether or not we are meeting your needs, in order that we can work together with you to do so.
Confidentiality if university staff are concerned
If a member of university staff is concerned about your wellbeing they may ask a counsellor about possible ways forward. In such a case we would ask them not to give your name but to discuss the situation anonymously.
If you have spoken to a member of university staff about concerns you have, they may suggest to you that counselling could be helpful. They can refer you to us, but only with your permission or at your request, using a Referral Proforma which must be signed by you so that the Counselling Service knows the referral is happening with your consent. The referrer would simply be told whether or not you had attended the referral counselling appointment, but what you discuss in that appointment remains confidential, according to the Wellbeing & Disability Service Confidentiality Code.
Notes may be made during or after your appointment. These notes are stored securely for 6 years after your counselling sessions have ended. You have the right to access these notes should you wish.
All Counselling staff regularly discuss their work with a Supervisor, an experienced practitioner who supports them and monitors their work. Work is discussed anonymously and your identity is protected. There may be exceptional occasions when information will be shared within the Wellbeing & Disability Service regarding clients who are giving cause for concern and who may be supported by both a Counsellor and a Mental Health Adviser.
Everything discussed during your sessions will remain confidential to the Service except in the most extreme circumstances. The circumstances when confidentiality will need to be extended are:
- When there is risk of serious harm to you or others.
- When your behaviour is adversely affecting the legal rights of other people.
- When disclosure is required by law.
- When Counsellors are placed in a position in which their professional integrity is being compromised.
Usually in such circumstances Counselling staff would discuss the situation with you before breaching confidence. However, in high-risk situations this may not be possible. If this were not possible, you would be told what information has been disclosed at the earliest opportunity.