The purpose of this document is to share and explain our policy on confidentiality.
For the online coaching programme, the accountability group and 1-1 coaching.
This includes online contact, advice, email, fb messenger etc. Basically any contact with Stephanie Chivers and the volunteers under her support.
Client records are kept in the form of notes for clients who engage in free consultations and 1-1 work. Sometimes I will keep notes for a client who is engaging in group coaching and there is a need for me to engage with them 1-1 for extra support. The notes are kept in a locking cabinet, in an office which locks. I keep notes for 3 years and then they are shredded.
The purpose of the notes is purely for recording the work in the session and things we need to work on. No one else sees these notes.
I may engage with my clinical supervisor about something that is happening with you, however the supervisor would not know your name or any other identifiers.
The supervisor does not see your notes. There are occasions where a court can apply to see my notes. This is rare and would be about managing risk. I would liaise with you and the court and agree what is appropriate and relevant to share, if anything.
Making a complaint.
I am registered with the Royal Society for Public Health UK and INLPTA. You are able to report me to either of these organisations and make a complaint. I would prefer you take this up with me in the first place to see if we can resolve the matter.
When confidentiality can be breached.
Risk to self and or others; terrorism.
I explain on our first call about confidentiality and explain when I can break confidentiality and what happens. I will give examples and you can ask questions about what that means. This is essentially about risk to yourself and others.
Things like acts of terrorism, violence, suicide, self harm. If you disclose anything to me that I think is a serious risk, I will explain this and ask further questions. If I need to take further advice or report this, I will explain what I am going to do and what will happen, I will also make sure you have support.
Suicide and self harm.
Suicide, if you tell me or any of my volunteers that you are feeling suicidal, have plans to act out, or have taken action on this, then I will liaise with you, assess the risk and I may need to call emergency services to keep you safe. If this happens I will explain what is going to happen and support you with it.
This may also mean liaising with your GP and local mental health service. You will be kept informed.
Self harm will depend on the risk around the self harm. If it is life threatening, then I will work with you to liaise with your GP and Mental health team to get you the support you need. Your safety and preservation of life is paramount.
Definition of Serious harm: A threat to life; inflicting serious physical harm; rape and child abuse would all be examples of serious harm; the risk of a car accident or the spread of serious disease could amount to serious harm. This may include acute immediate risk and also chronic risk.
The prevention of psychological distress without any associated serious physical injury, criminal activity, or child protection issue, may not justify a breach of confidentiality in English law, especially for adults and young people capable of giving valid consent.
The prevention of psychological distress without other associated forms of harm is therefore best resolved by consent. See also the reference to guidance on confidentiality from the Department of Health.
Mental capacity and consent.
Informed decisions are assessed. It is assumed in law that adults and children over the age of 16 have the mental capacity and therefore the legal power to give or withhold consent in medical and healthcare matters. This presumption is rebuttable, for example in the case of mental illness. A person lacks capacity in relation to a matter if at the material time s/he is unable to make a decision for her/himself in relation to the matter because of an impairment of, or a disturbance in the functioning of the mind or brain (whether permanent or temporary), but there is no one practical test for assessing mental capacity to consent.
Assessment of mental capacity is situation specific, and will depend on the ability of the person to take in, understand and weigh up information, including the risks and benefits of the decision to be made, and to communicate their wishes.
See the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and the Mental Health Act 2007. If I deem that you do not have the capacity to make good decisions for yourself, I will endeavour to explain this to you and your significant other. This may mean that I need to liaise with your GP without your consent. Again this is rare.
If you are a parent, have parental responsibility, or are caring for any children while under the influence, we will have a conversation about the risk to the child. There are many factors involved in this assessment; substance, amount, protective factors, mental health, behaviour whilst under the influence, age of the child/children. Just because you are looking after a child and you are using, it does not automatically mean there is a child protection risk, but it’s something we need to take into account. After further assessment if it becomes clear that there is a risk to the child, then I will work with you to get you the appropriate support, liaise with your GP and local family services. You will be informed and supported throughout this process. This is about you getting the support you need for you and your family.
This document will be updated regularly 2023.
If you are concerned about anything in this document please contact me, Stephanie Chivers.