As major part of any counselling service you as a client will disclose personal information about your life, situations and experiences.
As your counsellor I want to make sure that you can feel secure in the knowledge that everything you disclose is private and will be kept private. This is because if you do not feel secure in this knowledge the counseling service will be thwarted right from the start as “client-counsellor trust” is an essential aspect of the therapeutic relationship.
Counselling should be totally confidential. Sometimes you may wish to let someone know that you are seeing a counsellor, but that is your decision. I will never telephone you unless you are happy for me to do so or acknowledge you outside of the counselling room unless you feel comfortable with that. The only time confidentiality may be broken is if I feel either you or someone else is in danger, and if possible I will try to discuss this with you first. I keep some short handwritten notes on my clients (usually written in my own language, Bulgarian) which are available should you wish to see them. They are for my personal use only and do not contain your identifiable details. Your personal details are kept securely and separately. I keep the notes for seven years in case you wish to return to see me, and I will destroy notes 7 years after my last contact with you.
Very occasionally there may be circumstances in which I cannot legally or ethically maintain confidentiality but wherever possible, I will make every attempt to communicate first with the client explaining the reasons for the need to pass on information and to whom this will be given. Situations which oblige me to break confidentiality are as follows: if a client has committed a serious criminal offence or is involved in terrorist activity; if a child is being abused; if during our work it emerges that my client was sexually abused in childhood and there is the possibility of further abuse being committed, my responsibility is to work with my client to disclose, if possible to the authorities; or if I consider there is serious danger to my client harming themselves or another person. In all cases these decisions would be taken in consultation with my supervisor, and my client would be informed. My work is conducted according to guidelines from the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and The National Counselling Society (NCS). In accordance with these guidelines, I do discuss my work (excluding identifying features) with a professional supervisor. Your personal information (addresses, telephone numbers etc.) is known only to me.