You will see a padlock in the browser address bar for this website, this lets you know that this is a secure site. We use SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) this is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and your browsers remain private and integral.
The Online Counselling Service uses a secure system for online counselling, protecting the information that is collected. All email and contact forms are encrypted. All telephone calls are confidential. Furthermore:
- All email accounts are double password protected and encrypted. If you send an email to your Counsellor’s email address, on our end, only they will have access to it.
- VoIP and Telephone sessions are never recorded. Instant messenger and email sessions are deleted.
- All tablets, laptops or storage devices required to conduct or aid Counselling sessions have anti-virus and/or double password protected locks. When they are not in use for sessions, they are also kept securely in a locked pin access compartment safe that only your Counsellor has the password for.
- The compartment safe is further kept secure in a locked room and/or locked cabinet that only your Counsellor has access to, this is to ensure your privacy and meet ethical guidelines. If your Counsellor is travelling the compartment safe is stored in a portable locked carry case.
- *While we do our best to ensure security and never experienced an issue, please be advised that with all third party owned addresses, websites and messengers etc. there is a risk and there could be vulnerabilities. Please only use our service if you accept this.
When possible, The Online Counselling Service will advise clients of confidentiality and the importance it has on the individual counselling sessions. Any discussions during counselling sessions will be strictly confidential.
Your sessions may be paid for or arranged by a third party, such as a friend, partner, family member, employer, company, charity or organisation. Your consent is required. The only information that will be shared with your approved third party is payment requests, invoices, receipts and confirmation that your counselling sessions are taking place with OCS. Details about what is discussed in your sessions remain confidential between you and your Counsellor. Any other information can only be shared with the consent of the client (person receiving counselling).
Each Counsellor receiving Supervision from a qualified supervisor will always protect your identity. All work is to the highest ethical standards. The Online Counselling Service will only disclose information if necessary, e.g. if the person either Counsellor or client is at risk of harm we are then required by ethics to seek advice and guidance from other professionals. We would, of course, try to discuss this beforehand with you to obtain your assent.
We may also disclose information if there is a suspected case of child abuse or alleged child abuse, known or suspected case of adult or elder abuse.
If a Counsellor receives information, regarding a proposed or actual act of terrorism, he/she is required to share this with the police. Upon receipt of a subpoena, from a judge in a UK court of law, your Counsellor will be bound by British Law to release any information.
Information - collection, accessing and deleting
The Online Counselling Service will only ask for information that is considered necessary for the effectiveness of online and telephone therapy. We do not store information in a way that makes you personally identifiable.
Collection of information
We do not require personal data such as date of birth, race, sexual orientation, political opinion or religion. We do not require identification such as a passport or a licence etc. Before online and telephone sessions begin, the client messenger ID or telephone number, contacts etc., as well as brief details of what you feel you wish to talk about, may be submitted. This information is accessed by the Admin team and your assigned Counsellor only. The Online Counselling Service will always ensure basic information is gathered accurately. Your email address, that you initiate contact form, will be used as a form of contact in order to book and conduct sessions, to receive a requested free E-book and for email counselling. If you use instant chat, VoIP or telephone counselling, you will only be contacted via messenger or phone, by your request, at pre-booked times to have your session.
The assigned Counsellor may choose to keep offline information about their client's session time/date to stay organised. The information held by the Counsellor is destroyed within 6 months.
Disclosure of information
You will never be contacted via phone or messenger at any time other than for pre-arranged sessions. Your telephone number, messenger ID or email address will not be shared with any outside agencies or third parties. If you request a free E-book you will not receive unsolicited emails, your email address will not be saved.
We do not request proof of income or financial status. We do not request banking and financial information, no card payments are taken via the phone or on the website. Purchases for counselling sessions are made securely via the PayPal payment gateway. You can check your purchase history with them directly, they generally send email receipts after each purchase. You may also wish to view transactions by logging into your PayPal account if you have one.
Access to information
You are welcome to request any information we hold about you. To request any information, please contact your Counsellor directly, we ask that you allow 60 days for the request to be fulfilled. Please note that we only hold basic details for up to 6 months after your last session/purchase.
Deleting your information
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