As part of providing a psychological service to you, I will need to collect and record personal information from you that is relevant to your current situation. All information and records regarding you will be kept strictly confidential. The details of my policy for management of personal information, as required by the National Privacy Principles from the Privacy Amendment (Private Sector) Act 2000, are set out below.
I will not normally release any information about you to anyone; unless you give me a written and signed request to do so (there is a fee for reports).
There are some possible exceptions to this rule:
- If you were referred to me by a doctor or other professional helper, I will usually send a brief report to him or her. This is a customary courtesy to the person making the referral so that he or she knows what is being done for their patient. If you don’t want a report sent, please also let me know and I will tell the person making the referral. If you are using the medicare system, a report is required after each six sessions or as directed by your doctor.
- If you are involved in a court case and I appear on your behalf or if I am subpoenaed to appear, I would not be allowed to withhold from the court any information you have disclosed to me.
- If there is an overriding legal or social obligation to do so, I may disclose information to the relevant authorities about any serious criminal acts.
- If you indicate that you seriously intend to hurt or kill yourself or someone else; I am obliged to notify potential helpers or victims.
- If you are legally a minor (under 18 years of age), I am obliged to keep your parent(s) or guardian(s) informed of your progress, if they ask. I am not obliged to give them details of my discussions with you.
- If you see me as part of a couple or family therapy, I will assume confidentiality only for the parties as a whole entity, not between parties. This means that you should only disclose information you ultimately wish to share with the others involved in therapy with you.
- If your costs for consulting with me are being paid by a third party; (e.g. your employer or insurer), you should have a clear agreement with them regarding their access to the personal information that you provide to me.
Client files are held securely and are accessible only to authorised people. The information on each file includes personal information such as name, address, contact phone numbers, and other information which is relevant to the psychological service being provided. The information is gathered as part of the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of the client’s condition and is seen only by me or my administrative support personnel. The information is retained in order to document what happens during sessions and enables me to provide a relevant and informed psychological service. At any stage you may request to see the information about you kept on file. I may discuss the contents with you or give you a copy. If you believe any of the information in your file is not accurate, complete or up to date, you can ask me to correct it. All requests by client for access to information held about them should be lodged with me. These requests will be responded to within 14 days and an appointment will be made if necessary for clarification purposes. If you have a concern about the management of your personal information, please inform me. Upon request you can obtain a copy of the National Privacy Principles, which describe your rights and how your information should be handled.
Ultimately, if you wish to lodge a formal complaint about the use of, or access to, your personal information, you may do so with the Office of the Federal Privacy Commissioner on 1300 363 992, or at GPO Box 5218, Sydney, NSW 1042.