Bethany Thornton Counselling Privacy Policy

Your privacy is very important to me, and you can be confident that your personal information will be kept safe and secure and will only be used for the purpose it was given to me. I adhere to current data protection legislation, including the General Data Protection Regulation (EU/2016/679) (the GDPR), the Data Protection Act 2018 and the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003. This privacy notice tells you what I will do with your personal information from initial point of contact through to after your therapy has ended, including:

  • Why I am able to process your information and what purpose I am processing it for
  • Whether you have to provide it to me
  • How long I store it for
  • Whether there are other recipients of your personal information
  • Whether I intend to transfer it to another country,
  • Whether I do automated decision-making or profiling, and
  • Your data protection rights.

I am happy to chat through any questions you might have about my data protection policy, and you can contact me via email or letter.

‘Data controller’ is the term used to describe the person/ organisation that collects and stores and has responsibility for people’s personal data. In this instance, the data controller is me. I am registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office [Registration Number: ZA264427]. My postal address is: 18 Canberra Drive, Stafford, ST16 3PX. My phone number is: 07954 848542. My email address is:

My lawful basis for holding and using your personal information.

The GDPR states that I must have a lawful basis for processing your personal data. There are different lawful bases depending on the stage at which I am processing your data. I have explained these below: If you have had therapy with me and it has now ended, I will use legitimate interest as my lawful basis for holding and using your personal information. If you are currently having therapy or if you are in contact with me to consider therapy, I will process your personal data where it is necessary for the performance of our contract. The GDPR also makes sure that I look after any sensitive personal information that you may disclose to me appropriately. This type of information is called ‘special category personal information.’ The lawful basis for me processing any special categories of personal information is consent initially. I will then retain any counselling records in case of the need to reference them in the future (the official legal basis is to defend against potential legal claims).

How I use your information

Initial contact: When you contact me with an enquiry about my counselling services, I will collect information to help me satisfy your enquiry. This will include your name, and the contact information (such as your email address or telephone number) you have provided so that I can reply to your enquiry. Alternatively, if you are referred to me through an Employee Assistance Programme, they may send me your details when making a referral, or a trusted individual may give me your details when making an enquiry on your behalf. If you decide not to proceed, I will ensure all your personal data is deleted within 4 weeks. If you would like me to delete this information sooner, just let me know.

Please note that the transmission of information via email is not completely secure. Although I will do my best to protect your personal data, I cannot guarantee the security of data while you are transmitting it to my email address. Any such transmission is at your own risk.

While you are accessing counselling

Rest assured that everything you discuss with me is confidential. That confidentiality will only be broken if you tell me that you are involved in any of the following:

*Committing a crime
*Abuse of a child
*Serious physical harm to others
*Serious physical harm to yourself
or if required to do so by a court or law.

I will always try to speak to you about this first, unless there are safeguarding issues that prevent this.

I will keep a record of your personal details to help the counselling services run smoothly. These details are kept securely in a locked filing cabinet and are not shared with any third party (except in the unfortunate circumstance that something happens to me such that I cannot continue to practice as a counsellor due to ill health or death, in these circumstances I have a clinical will in place in which my supervisor, Kathryn Kinmond, has permission to access my client’s contact details to advise them of the situation and if required, to support them in finding alternative counselling provision). I will keep handwritten notes of each session, these are anonymised and kept secure and separate from your personal details. For security reasons I do not retain text or WhatsApp messages for more than 4 weeks. If there is relevant information contained in a text message, I will extract this and keep it stored securely in a locked filing cabinet. Likewise, any email correspondence will be deleted after 4 weeks if it is not important. If necessary, I will print an email out and keep it stored securely in a locked filing cabinet.

After counselling has ended

Once counselling has ended your records will be kept for 7 years from the end of our contact with each other and are then securely destroyed. If you want me to delete your information sooner than this, please tell me (although I can decline whilst the information is needed for me to practice lawfully and competently).

Third party recipients of personal data

I sometimes share personal data with third parties, which is usually if you have been referred to me through an Employee Assistance Programme. The Employee Assistance Programme Provider will have their own Privacy Policy regarding the retention and use of any personal information they hold about you. Please contact the relevant EAP Provider for their Privacy Policy.

Your rights

I try to be as open as I can be in terms of giving people access to their personal information. You have a right to ask me to delete your personal information, to limit how I use your personal information, or to stop processing your personal information. You also have a right to ask for a copy of any information that I hold about you and to object to the use of your personal data in some circumstances. You can read more about your rights at If I do hold information about you I will:

  • give you a description of it and where it came from.
  • tell you why I am holding it, tell you how long I will store your data and how I made this decision.
  • tell you who it could be disclosed to.
  • let you have a copy of the information in an intelligible form.

You can also ask me at any time to correct any mistakes there may be in the personal information I hold about you. To make a request for any personal information I may hold about you, please put the request in writing addressing it to Bethany Thornton, Postal Address: 18 Canberra Drive, Stafford, ST16 3PX, Email: If you have any complaint about how I handle your personal data, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me by writing or emailing to the contact details given above. I would welcome any suggestions for improving my data protection procedures. If you want to make a formal complaint about the way I have processed your personal information you can contact the ICO which is the statutory body that oversees data protection law in the UK. For more information go to

Data security

I take the security of the data I hold about you very seriously and as such I take every effort to make sure it is kept secure. [I use passwords to access my laptop and phone, I keep handwritten records in locked filing cabinet storage].

Visitors to my website

When someone visits my website, I use a third-party service, Google Analytics, to collect standard internet log information and details of visitor behaviour patterns. I do this to find out things such as the number of visitors to the various parts of the site. This information is only processed in a way that does not identify anyone as Google Analytics 4 does not log or store individual IP addresses. I do not make, and do not allow Google Analytics to make any attempt to find out the identities of those visiting my website. I use legitimate interests as my lawful basis for holding and using your personal information in this way when you visit my website. I use Google Analytics so that I can continually improve my service to you, you can read Google Analytics privacy notice here: .

I use Activ Digital Marketing North Essex as the content manager, this website has a secure certificate (SSL) that uses encryption which means that data entered to and displayed from the website and your device is secured. If you fill in a form on my website, that data will be temporarily stored on the web host before being sent to me. No other personal data is stored on my website. My website uses cookies solely to make the website work – they do not collect any personal data – refer my Cookie Policy. My website contains links to other websites of interest. These websites should have their own privacy policies and you should exercise caution and look at the privacy statement applicable to the website in question. I do not accept any responsibility or liability for the protection and privacy of any information which you provide whilst visiting such sites and such sites are not governed by this privacy statement.