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Confidentiality & Record Keeping in Counselling & Psychotherapy

Confidentiality & Record Keeping in Counselling & Psychotherapy

Third Edition (Updated Edition)

May 2021 | 256 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Confidentiality and record keeping are essential aspects of everyday counselling practice. This book introduces you to the law, ethics, guidance and policy relevant to counselling records and confidentiality, using examples from practice to apply this to a wide range of counselling situations and dilemmas.

This edition is fully updated to cover recent developments in guidance, professional ethics, policy and law, including new chapters on GDPR and data protection law and online and telephone counselling practice. With an extensive glossary, checklists and useful legal and other resources, this is an essential resource for trainees and practitioners in the helping professions.

Barbara Mitchels runs Therapy Law, an online consultancy service, and is Director of the Watershed Counselling Service in Devon.

Tim Bond is Emeritus Professor at the University of Bristol and Visiting Professor to the University of Malta.

Part I Confidentiality and the law
1. Recording confidences
2. Confidentiality as a legal entitlement – the clients’ perspective
3. Confidentiality as a legal responsibility – obligations of the therapist
Part II Record keeping and the law
4. Record keeping – basic responsibilities
5. Data protection
6. Information technology, telephone and online working, electronic recordings and electronic data interchange
7. How long do we keep records?
Part III Confidentiality and disclosures: information sharing
8. Sharing information between professionals
9. Sharing information in supervision and training
10. Sharing information in research and audit
Part IV Confidentiality and disclosures: policy, practice and procedural issues
11. Developing agency policy and practice and evaluating organisational policies on confidentiality and record keeping
12. Mental capacity, vulnerable adults and consent
13. Children, capacity and consent
14. Victims, and pre-trial therapy with vulnerable adults and children as witnesses
Part V Practice dilemmas: checklists and scenarios on confidentiality and disclosures for reflection and discussion
15. Responding to dilemmas – ethical and legal practice
Disclosure checklists
Useful organisations and contacts
List of legal cases
List of acts and rules
Further reading

The book contains many vital consideration in a new online age. Even though the book focusses on British legislation the concepts are still important to consider in an Australian context.

Mrs Annemarie Klingenberg
School of Public Health, University of Adelaide
September 23, 2021
Key features


The UK’s only book on law and policy on record keeping and confidentiality in counselling and psychotherapy. It provides readers with the required legal and policy information and shows how to apply this to commonly arising challenges and dilemmas in practice.

This book is an invaluable professional reference text for practitioners, as well as being important reading for all those studying counselling, psychotherapy and counselling or clinical psychology.

What's new to this edition?
- A new chapter on ‘Information and technology’ -  new chapter on online and telephone working in the counselling professions, relationship of data protection and new technology, safeguarding information, therapist responsibilities, and the responsibilities of others (e.g. in EAP, Counselling agencies etc. where data is uploaded to cloud storage).   

- New vignettes in Chapter 16 on Practice Dilemmas, including case studies of online working.
- Updated glossary
- New preface Tim Bond

several appendices:

Disclosure checklists

Useful organisations and contacts

List of Legal Cases

List of Acts and Rules