Privacy & Confidentiality

Paraklesis Counselling adheres to the ethical code requirements for professional counsellors concerning personal information of clients, confidentiality, informed consent, and release of information.

Clients are fully informed concerning the confidentiality of their information. They are informed about the therapists’ duty to inform, and client-permission will always be required before any information or reports are released to third parties. However, clients need to take note of the exceptions to confidentiality, and the limitations to online, couples, group, and family counselling.

Paraklesis Counselling places client welfare fundamentally and principally first and foremost in all its counselling services and business dealings. Honouring confidentiality is important to Paraklesis’ efforts to promote the wellbeing of all clients.

Paraklesis commits to the highest levels of professional competence and training. However, student-counsellors must be made aware that counsellor-education has a tendency to evoke personal emotions and includes opportunities to share private thoughts and narratives. In sharing students are reminded that the discussion forums are public forums and that full confidentiality cannot be guaranteed. Student-counsellors are therefore directed to only share as much as they are comfortable in sharing, and not to over-share in the discussion forums.

Respect for Dignity
and Privacy

Client welfare is fundamentally and principally placed first 

Read More ...

 

Personal Information

Protecting the privacy of peoples personal information ...

Read More ...

 

Client Confidentiality

Most fundamental professional obligation in counselling

Read More ...

Privileged Info & Exceptions 

The legal duty to inform, limitations and  other exceptions ...

Read More ...

 

Information Management

Paraklesis Counselling protects your personal information by making

Read More ...

Informed Consent Form

Prior disclosure and obtaining Informed Consent from clients 

Read More ...

Respect for Dignity & Privacy Policy

 

Paraklesis Counselling adheres to all the requirements of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act of Canada (PIPEDA) and to the ethical code requirements for professional counsellors concerning personal information of clients, confidentiality, informed consent, and release of information.

Clients are fully informed concerning the confidentiality of their information, why it is being collected and how it will be stored and used. They are informed about the therapists’ duty to inform, and client permission will always be required before any information or reports are released to third parties.

In principle Paraklesis Counselling respects autonomy and fosters self-determination and the right to privacy; adheres to non-maleficence and the principle to do no harm; covets beneficence and seeks what benefits and promotes well-being; supports justice and fully committed to fairness; practises fidelity and accepts the responsibility of trust; and strives for veracity, coveting truthful honesty and uprightness.

Paraklesis Counselling places client welfare fundamentally and principally first and foremost in all its counselling services, training, and business dealings. Honouring diversity is central to Paraklesis’ efforts to promote wellbeing and to respect the dignity of all clients.

Paraklesis Counselling respects the individual’s right to autonomy – to be left alone to decide the time, place, manner, and extend of sharing oneself (one’s thoughts, behaviour, or body) with others. No one will be coerced or forced to divulge information that they are uncomfortable or unwilling to share.

Paraklesis Counselling will not discriminate against clients on the bases of culture, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or values. Recognising diversity and embracing a transitional cultural approach, Paraklesis supports the worth, dignity, potential, and uniqueness of people within their social and cultural contexts.
 

... Back to Top

 

Personal Information

 

Paraklesis is committed to protecting the privacy of people whose personal information is held. All clients of our
services and visitors to our web sites are treated with personal human care, outstanding ethics, and integrity. We
undertake to honour or exceed the legal and ethical requirements of information privacy that apply in Canada through responsible information management practices. All personal information provided by clients are collected, stored, used, and disclosed in accordance with PIPEDA and the ethical codes of the counselling profession.

Personal Information includes any factual or subjective information, recorded or not, about an identifiable individual. This includes information in any form, such as biographical details (name, address, e-mail, telephone numbers, age, gender, occupation, etc.); financial details (credit card information); general information (visits to our web site, how
clients found out about our services, etc); and counselling and medical information supplied by the client for the purpose of therapy and/or training.

If you visit the Paraklesis Counselling website to browse, read pages, or download information; receive counselling or register for a course, we will automatically gather and store certain information about the visit (the internet protocol address and domain name used, the date and time of the visit, and the web pages or services accessed). All digitally
automatically collected information is used only for purposes such as assessing system performance, improving web services and web site management. Paraklesis does not use this data to determine your identity unless required to do so as part of an internal investigation or other law enforcement purpose.

Paraklesis Counselling does not collect personal information about you unless you voluntarily provide it to use specific services. Personal information collected, disclosed, and retained will only be used to fulfill the purpose for which it was originally collected, or for a use consistent with that purpose unless you expressly consent otherwise. The length of
retention will vary in relation to the nature of the service. Paraklesis will securely store all records containing personal information, including online and face-to-face counselling transcripts, for a maximum period of seven years.

... Back to Top

 

Confidentiality

 

Confidentiality, the most fundamental of all professional obligations in counselling, is defined as the quality of private information that is divulged with the implicit or explicit promise and the reasonable expectation that it will not be further disclosed except for the purpose for which it was provided.

Paraklesis Counselling places a very high value on confidentiality. Clients can be very confident that they are able to openly and freely discuss anything in therapy, knowing that it will not be talked about elsewhere or divulged to third parties without their written consent.

The narrow exceptions to confidentiality (see next section) are explained to clients in the Informed Consent Form and clients are invited to discuss any concerns in the first counselling session or per e-mail. There are limits to the assurance of confidentiality in couples and marriage therapy, family therapy and group therapy because other individuals are involved.

There are also limits to the assurance of confidentiality in e-therapy (online counselling) and online education because technology is used that is outside the control of the provider.

Please take note of the legal exceptions  to confidentiality in the section on Privileged Information and the legal exceptions to privilege and confidentiality.

Paraklesis commits to the highest levels of professional competence and training. However, student-counsellors must be made aware that counsellor-education has a tendency to evoke personal emotions and includes opportunities to share private thoughts and narratives. In sharing students are reminded that the discussion forums are public forums and that full confidentiality cannot be guaranteed. Student-counsellors are therefore directed to only share as much as they are comfortable in sharing, and not to over-share in the discussion forums.

 

... Back to Top

 

Privileged Information & Exceptions to Confidentiality

 

Privileged Information is a legal protection against being forced to break a promise or expectation of  confidentiality in legal proceedings between lawyers and their clients and is not applicable to the counsellor-counsellee relationship.

There are therefore the following general and legal exceptions to confidentiality:

Client waiver of “privilege”

When the client gives verbal/written consent to the counsellor to:

  • Divulge confidential information to third parties
  • Write reports (psychological report, referral request, medical insurance claims, etc)
  • Consult and case conference with other mental health practitioners or with a supervisor

Death of the client

A deceased client’s privilege can be waived, but counsellors will protect the confidentiality of deceased clients according to legal requirements or agency policies.

The duty to warn, to protect, and to report

Counsellors are legally required to breach confidentiality in order to warn or protect someone in danger, and where
applicable, to report these situations to the responsible authorities. Counsellors must take action:

  • When they suspect abuse or neglect of children, older people, or other persons presumed to have limited ability to care for themselves
  • To protect clients who pose a danger to themselves
  • When a client poses a danger to others
  • When a client has a fatal, communicable disease and the client’s behaviour is putting others at risk

Counselling multiple clients

Confidentiality cannot be fully guaranteed in groups, couples, or family counselling, but counsellors will explain the importance of confidentiality to all participants.

Counselling minor or legally incompetent clients

Counsellors cannot give the same assurance of confidentiality to minors as they do to other clients because their parents/guardians control their legal rights. Parents/guardians must consent to the counselling on behalf of the minor (divorced parents with joint custody have to both consent).

Although parents/guardians rightfully have access to all information pertaining to the minors’ counselling, they can be requested to voluntarily waive it in favour of providing the minor with some sense of counselling confidentiality.

Other Legal Exceptions

  • Counsellors must disclose confidential information when ordered to do so by a court
  • Counsellors may reveal confidential information when it is necessary to defend themselves against ethical and/or legal charges brought by clients. Clients waive their privilege when they bring a lawsuit against a counsellor
  • Privilege is normally waived in civil commitment proceedings
  • During emergencies involving the client, counsellors can breach confidentiality to provide emergency personal information in the best interest of the client.

Please feel free to discuss these issues in session or e-mail us if you have any concerns.

 

... Back to Top

 

Information Management Safeguard

 

Paraklesis Counselling protects your personal information by making careful security arrangements against such risks as unauthorised access, collection, use, disclosure, or disposal. Security measures have been integrated into the design, implementation, and day-to-day operating practices as part of Paraklesis’ continuing commitment to the protection of personal information it holds.

Clients are required to use our secure encrypted systems to transmit personal information to us. In addition to our encryption standards, all Paraklesis account information is username and password protected so that only clients, their counsellor, and only as required, Paraklesis technical staff, have access to this personal information.

Client responsibilities in the protection of their privacy

Clients are responsible for the protection of their own privacy as end-user on the computer they use to access the Paraklesis site. They are therefore requested:

  • Not to disclose their Paraklesis username and password to anyone, or to allow another person to access the Paraklesis system while they are still logged in
  • To logout after each use of the Paraklesis site, and to clear their browsers cache (deleting recent browsing history). This helps keep your personal information safe, and is particularly important if others may be using the same computer after you.
  • To be aware of the security issues related to downloading and storing files to their local computer or to a portable storage device. If not aware of the risks please avoid doing so. Once a file is stored on your local computer or on a portable storage device, it is encrypted, and you become fully responsible for safeguarding that file
  • To be aware that there are computer viruses, malware, and legitimate software products that are capable of recording keystrokes. It is good computing practice to ensure that your computer is running up-to-date antivirus software
  • To update their address, telephone number, and e-mail address, whenever such changes occur. Failure to do so releases Paraklesis from our ethical/legal obligation to warn of life threatening situations.

No warranty and non-liability

Paraklesis does not warrant the privacy of confidential material that becomes insecure because of user negligence or actions that users may take or that is a result of software that Paraklesis did not supply. Examples of security breaches that we do not warrant include, but are not limited to:

  • Providing the Paraklesis username and password to third parties
  • Leaving confidential material on a computer screen for others to see
  • Storing confidential material on the local computer or a portable storage device
  • Use of monitoring software (for example, by an employer)
  • Sharing personal information or counselling details on social networks (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, etc.).

Paraklesis endeavours to do our best to ensure the highest level of security on our systems and to protect users' personal information, but no data transmission over the Internet is guaranteed to be 100% secure. Thus, Paraklesis cannot ensure or warrant the security of any information during transmission to or from our site, and users submit information to us at their own risk.

Distribution of unsolicited information

Paraklesis will not send clients any unsolicited information (including e-mails) and will not allow third parties to access or use the Paraklesis database for any reason. Paraklesis will only send out its e-news to those signed up to receive it and clients will have the option to unsubscribe at any stage. Occasionally Paraklesis may send out unsolicited notices/e-mails to Paraklesis account holders to provide counselling follow-up or request evaluation of our services, or to announce important service changes, new features, technical updates, and news about other Paraklesis online products and services. Paraklesis will not send unsolicited messages regarding any third party commercial offers or advertisements.

Policy Changes

Paraklesis Counselling reserves the right to change its privacy policy without notice at any time within the pertinent legal and ethical specifications and requirements. If changes are made to the Paraklesis privacy policy, it will be posted on the Paraklesis Web site for users to review.

Clients Recourse

If at any time you believe that Paraklesis Counselling has not adhered to the principles set out in this policy, please feel free to contact us at info@paraklesiscounselling.com. After attempting to resolve your concern with us directly, if you are still not satisfied and feel you must report a perceived ethical breach, you are welcome to address that to a professional organisation or the chamber of commerce.

(This Policy has been reviewed and published on January  2017)
  

... Back to Top

 

 

Paraklesis Counselling acknowledges the necessity of respect for clients, their autonomy, and their privacy rights. Informed consent is therefore obtained prior to disclosure, and not having consent may be considered malpractice.

In mental health, written contracts for informed consent are commonly referred to as disclosure statements. They disclose to the client:

  • The nature of the counselling relationship
  • Information of services provided - the purpose, goals, techniques, procedures, limitations, potential risk, and benefits of the proposed counselling services
  • Fees and billing issues
  • Confidentiality and its limitations (exceptions), and the duty to warn, inform, or report
  • The counsellors qualifications, licensing, registration, degrees and certification
  • The clients’ rights to obtain information about their records and to participate in ongoing counselling plans
  • The clients’ rights to refuse any recommended services, to ask for a referral and/or terminating the counselling
  • relationship
  • A description of the therapists’ theoretical orientation when applicable
  • Other pertinent logistical information concerning appointments, cancellations, etc.

All information pertaining to treatment is disclosed in the Paraklesis Counselling Informed Consent Forms and on the Paraklesis webpage. Clients must be legally competent to consent to treatment and they must understand the information. Voluntary consent for online therapy and for e-education is obtained digitally, and counselling clients will be required to sign an indemnity form is f-2-f counselling sessions.

... Back to Top