- Counselling and Psychotherapy with John Maguire - Data Protection and Privacy

Data Protection

Data protection and record keeping

It is essential for counsellors to be able to keep records on clients and their sessions. The following explains our policy on data protection. All clients using the Service will be asked to sign a document to agree to notes being kept. If a client will not sign, only an initial appointment can be offered. In this session it will be made clear why counselling cannot be offered and other options will be suggested.

Counselling notes

Counselling notes may record background information and key issues worked on in the session. These will vary in length and detail. Points of concern are also noted.

Access to notes

Under the Data Protection Act, clients have a right of access to all notes kept on them. If those notes contain references to other individuals these may not be available to the client, as protection is also granted to third parties. It may be important for the counsellor to explain to clients what their notes contain as some notes are recorded in codified form for record management purposes. If the client's file includes a letter or additional information from the person responsible for their clinical care, usually their general practitioner (GP) or psychiatrist, consent from the relevant practitioner must be obtained before the correspsondence is disclosed. If the client wishes to see their file they should ask their counsellor, giving a week's notice. Details of case notes are exempt from disclosure to third parties under Freedom of Information legislation.

Liaison and correspondence

With the express permission of the client it may be appropriate for the counsellor to liaise with, or write to, a third party - for example a personal tutor or GP. In the case of telephone calls, the purpose of the call, and the nature and extent of the information to be given will be agreed with the client prior to the call. Requests for letters should be discussed with the counsellor or by submitting a Letter Request form. Clients can request copies of the letter.


All notes are kept securely and confidentially within the Service. In line with Service policy, counsellors' notes are kept for a period of five years. After this time they are destroyed by shredding.

Privacy Statement


Staff working for the Counselling Service will not pass on personal information about clients (including information on attendance) to anyone outside the Service (including academic staff) subject to the following exceptions:

If there is no indication that this has happened, or is likely to happen, or if the crisis or danger is sufficiently acute, the counsellor may pass on the information directly.

Consent to disclose information will be sought from the client, if at all possible.

Affordable rates

Rates are fully negotiable and dependent on what you can afford to pay.Typical rates range from £35.00 to £50.00 per counselling session.

Where possible I will consider lower cost options and try and accommodate those on low incomes.

I also offer special counselling rates to those who commit to longer term arrangements such as trainee counsellors.

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