During therapy it is common to share personal information and data with your therapist. It is for your best benefit to make sure that your privacy is protected. In the current document you can find more information on how your information and data are handled within Stress Talk mental health practice.
What is Stress Talk
Stress Talk is a mental health practice offering online services and in-person services upon request. The practice is owned by Theodora Seliniotaki, Health Psychologist, M.Sc, member of the Nederlands Instituut van Psychologen. The legal nature of the practice is sole proprietorship (eenmanszaak in Dutch) and Theodora is the only person offering services.
Personal information and data
Any information and data that is directly associated with an individual and can lead to their identification by a third party is considered personal. Everyone’s data is protected by the guidelines set by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). You can read more about GDPR here.Please note that during psychotherapy health information and data are commonly shared and it is important to know that this kind of data is also protected by the Personal Health Information Act (PHIA).
What is the Personal Health Information Act (PHIA)
PHIA is the legal framework which indicates how health professionals should collect, use and disclose personal health information of clients. Additionally, it indicates how individuals can have access to their own information and data and retract it. You can read more about PHIA here.
The main setting of therapy sessions facilitated within the scope of Stress Talk is online. In order to maintain good quality communication with the client, different telecommunication ways may be used: video conferencing platforms, telephone or email. Although confidentiality and privacy are ensured and prioritised for the client’s sake, online communications have certain limitations and challenges. Stress Talk has taken appropriate security measures to ensure the protection of the clients’ privacy but it is important that the client is appropriately informed about further limitations. If you would like to know more, please read the guidelines for telepsychology from the American Psychological Association (APA) here.
Information and data collected during therapy at Stress Talk
Three types of information and personal data is collected at Stress Talk:
Information like full name, complete address(e.g. street, number, postal code, city, province if applicable, country), phone number and the same information of an emergency contact. This information will be used only for service-related reasons on the benefit of the client while in affiliation with Stress Talk.
Health related information
Health related information includes not only health history, family health history, health conditions, previous and current health services provided inside and outside of Stress Talk but also personal information like religious, political and other types of opinions expressed by the individual. Activities are also included in this category.
Family and social support information
This category includes personal information of family members, friends and acquaintances that play an important role in the client’s life. The reason for collecting this information during therapy is only for the complete understanding of the client’s social support network which is a protective factor towards mental health challenges. The only reason this information may be used outside of the confidentiality of a therapeutic session is of an emergency contact (See category 1. Identification information above) in case there is suspicion of a life threatening situation involving the client.
Collection of information and data
The above information can be collected before, during and after therapy sessions in the form of structured and semi-structured interviews, contact information forms, questionnaires and other information gathering tools that are useful for the efficiency of therapeutic processes.
Other ways to collect your data is any form of correspondence with Stress Talk and/or Theodora Seliniotaki which is kept in the records of the practice. Information like IP address, operating system(s), type of browser, traffic levels, type of computer, weblogs etc may be gathered for statistical reasons associated with the visibility and visitability of the website.
According to the legal and professional standards set by GDPR and APA, we are obliged to keep record of contact information and notes of our clients for a maximum of 7 years from the first contact with the client. See here.
The collection of data and information is encouraged to ensure the quality, efficiency and suitability of the psychological services you wish to receive from Stress Talk. This information and data is not collected with an intention to harm and therefore every client is free to refuse the collection of their data and information without this decision affecting the continuation of services received by Stress Talk.
Use of information and data
Stress Talk and Theodora Seliniotaki will not disclose personal information and data to third parties nor will use this information for other purposes (e.g. research purposes) without your informed and written consent. In the Netherlands, NIP (Nederlands Instituut van Psychologen), can conduct audits to assess the quality and suitability of services offered and record keeping. This means that the representatives of NIP have the right to ask the records and therapy notes of the clients solely for the purposes of the audit. As a psychology practice, we are not to allow any notes and records to be removed from our premises or database for external audit purposes without the consent of our clients.
Another way of using your information and data is when there is a third party which covers the payment of the sessions (e.g. client’s employer, health insurance company). A third party which covers the expenses of therapy may ask for information regarding the progress of therapy and the assessment outcomes so as to decide whether the coverage of the therapeutic sessions will be continued or for planning purposes. The amount of information shared with these parties is always to be discussed with the client; the Psychologist with the client can agree on the quantity and quality of the information shared so as the client has full control of their information being disclosed.
Disclosure of information and data
Health and other personal information and data can be disclosed only after the written consent of the client. In cases that this is not possible (e.g. under time pressuring conditions) then the verbal consent of the client will also suffice as long as the written consent is also acquired at a later time.
The disclosure of the information includes only information that is absolutely necessary for the causes of the disclosure and it does not include information that is acquired by a third party and/or intends to cause harm to anyone.
Storage of information and data
Client’s information and data are property of Stress Talk and are stored in password secured databases. Handwritten notes and forms are stored in a locked cabinet according to GDPR guidelines. The passwords for the databases and the key to the cabinet are only known to Theodora Seliniotaki and are changed on a regular basis.
Protection rights for information and data
The client’s rights towards their personal information and data are clearly stated under GDPR regulations. Under certain conditions, the clients have the right to:
Access their information and data at any point upon request.
Request for the review of information and data the client thinks is not correct, inaccurate or incomplete
Request for their information and data to be erased.
Restrict the processing and/or object to the processing of their information and data by Stress Talk.
Request the transfer of personal information and data to themselves or another organisation.
All the above actions can take place upon the request of the client. After the client requests any of the above, Stress Talk has one month (30 calendar days) to respond to this request. Any request concerning the above should be addressed to the official email of Stress Talk: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Questions and/or concerns
If you would like to know more about the confidentiality of your personal information and data or if you have any concerns about any of the matters discussed in this document, please send a message to email@example.com and Theodora Seliniotaki will discuss it further with you.