Collection of information
First Step Counselling collects and retains information when necessary for the purpose of its therapeutic communications, marketing and statistics. There is no pressure for anyone to provide all the personal information requested unless they wish to.
We may collect information such as your:
- Name and date of birth
- Address; physical and postal, email address and telephone number(s),
- Marital status
- Number of children
- Details of extended family
- Family circumstances
- Health information
- Work details
- Religious affiliation
- Issues you have attended these offices to discuss. Please note this information will never be presented with your personal details.
- Your counsellor will be consulting with their supervisor and information about your counselling sessions will be discussed. These communications are confidential and no names or identifying details are shared. The purpose of supervision is to enhance the quality of care you receive. They are given details that will assist the counsellor in the ongoing therapeutic relationship.
We may also collect personal information from you about someone else, however, you must ensure that you are authorised to disclose that information to us.
- the fact that their personal information is being collected,
- the purposes for which that information is being collected,
- the intended recipients of that information,
- the individual’s right to obtain access to that information,
- our identity and how to contact us.
- When requested by us, you must also assist us with any requests by the individual to access or update the personal information you have collected from them.
How we collect information
First Step Counselling collects your personal information directly from you unless it is unreasonable or impracticable to do so.
When we collect personal information from you, we may collect it in the following ways:
- When you complete paper and electronic forms such as intake forms.
- When you call our office
The purpose of collecting information
The purpose of collection, holding, use and disclosure of the personal information is to fulfil statistical and administrative functions of First Step Counselling. This information is not necessarily considered personal or sensitive. Information is only considered to be personal if the identity of the individual is apparent or can be reasonably ascertained from the informant.
The information gathered is to document what happens during sessions and enables the counsellor to provide a relevant and informed service. Your personal information may be used to compile statistics such as the number of clients we see monthly, the number of males/females, the ages of clients counselled etc. This information may be used to administer, manage or develop our services.
In some cases, we may also collect your personal information using cookies. When you access our website, we may send a “cookie” (which is a small summary file containing a unique ID number) to your computer.
Our cookies do not collect personal information. If you do not wish to receive cookies, you can set your browser so that your computer does not accept them. We may log IP addresses (that is, the electronic addresses of computers connected to the internet) to analyse trends, administer the website, track users’ movements, and gather broad demographic information.
Storage of information
First Step Counselling takes reasonable steps to ensure your personal information is protected from misuse and loss and from unauthorised access, modification or disclosure. Our processes include:
- Hard copy notes or forms are stored in a secure location.
- Electronic data is password protected and complies with applicable security standards.
- Only authorised personnel are permitted to access your data.
- Personal information is destroyed or de-identified when no longer needed.
As our website is linked to the internet, and the internet may be insecure, we cannot provide any assurance regarding the security of transmission of information you communicate to us online. We also cannot guarantee that the information you supply will not be intercepted while being transmitted over the internet. Accordingly, any personal information or other information which you transmit to us online is transmitted at your own risk.
Disclosure of information
Any disclosure of your personal information to recipients would only occur if we have your permission, or
- the disclosure is required or authorised by law or court order. We would like to point out at this time, that it is the policy of First Step Counselling to argue for client confidentiality wherever possible; and
- Failure to disclose the information would place you or another person at risk.
- Your prior approval has been obtained to:
- Provide a written report to another professional or agency i.e., GP or lawyer
- Discuss the material with another person i.e., parent or employer
- doing so does not breach the Australian Privacy Principals; and
- the recipient of the information is subject to a law or binding scheme that has the effect of protecting the information that is substantially like the way in which the Australian Privacy Principals protects the information.
Unsolicited collection of personal or sensitive information
At times we may discover personal or sensitive information about you from a third party. If it is not personal information that is contained in a Commonwealth record, and if it is not necessary for conducting First Step Counselling activities, or we are unable to advise you, we will take steps to destroy or de-identify the information if it is lawful and reasonable to do so
Access and correction
First Step Counselling will provide individuals with access to their personal information as required by law and take reasonable steps to correct information that is inaccurate, incomplete or out of date. To request access to personal information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. The counsellor may discuss the contents with you and give you a copy. Requests for access must be in writing and will be responded to within seven days and an appointment will be made for clarification purposes. You have the right to request amendments if there are inaccuracies in this information. If you wish to have your personal information corrected/altered/deleted, please let us know and we will do so as far as practicable.
There may be a cost associated with preparing this report which will be on a pro-rata basis according to time. This time taken will depend on how long the client has been in therapy.
Changes to this Policy