Purpose of Collecting Client Information
A client’s personal information is gathered and used to provide psychological services, which include assessing, diagnosing, and treating a client’s presenting issue or preparing psychological reports. The personal information is retained to document what happens during sessions and to enable the treating counsellor to provide a relevant and informed service.
What Information is Collected
Mental Awakening will only collect information that is necessary to perform related service functions. This will be done in a fair, lawful and non-intrusive way. Information will be collected directly from the individual rather than from another person. However if this is not possible, and where practicable, the individual will be advised. A client’s personal information is collected in several ways before, during or after psychological consultation with Mental Awakening:
- Correspondence via email or through Mental Awakening’s website or social media
- When the client interacts directly with their counsellor and the Mental Awakening employees such as the admin staff
- When other health practitioners provide personal information to Mental Awakening via referrals, correspondence and medical reports.
How Client Information is Kept
Client files are kept in electronic storage. They are accessible only to authorised employees. It is possible that some of the information collected by Mental Awakening will be stored in systems that utilise data hosting facilities outside of Australia. You consent to your information being disclosed to a destination outside Australia for this purpose. Mental Awakening will do everything it can to make sure that the information held about an individual is accurate, complete and up to date. It is a legal requirement to hold some records for extended periods, however, information will not be kept longer than necessary.
Access to Client Information
Access to client file information is restricted to the client’s treating counsellor. However, certain exceptions exist. These include:
- Mental Awakening administration staff access to the client’s records, which includes less personally sensitive information, needed for administrative purposes such as dates of appointments, contact details, emergency correspondence, etc.
- Client’s details may be shared with the counsellor or Mental Awakening’s professional advisors, such as legal advisors, where necessary for the conduct of the business of the counsellor.
- Another psychologist or counsellor at Mental Awakening if there is a professional need to know the information. For example, a different psychologist than the treating psychologist seeing the client for treatment temporarily while their regular psychologist is unavailable.
Requests to Access Information
Clients may request access to personal information about them kept on file. Our policy is that all such requests need to be made in writing by the client and will be responded to within 14 days. Access will only be provided to the client by arranging a session time to discuss the information with the counsellor responsible for the client’s file. This will be charged at our normal sessional rates and payable by the client at the time of the appointment. We do not provide copies of any file information without a court subpoena. This is because clinical records contain sensitive information relevant to the client’s treatment and may be harmful if read without a psychologist or counsellor present to explain the information appropriately. Access to personal information is subject to exceptions in the relevant legislation. In certain circumstances, requests to access personal information may be declined in accordance with privacy laws (for example, where giving access would put a client or another person at risk of harm).
Disclosure of Client Information
Mental Awakening will not disclose a client’s personal information except when:
- When a court subpoenas it.
- When failure to disclose the information would place a client or another person at serious risk to life, health or safety.
- When providing a written report to another professional or agency. e.g. a GP or a lawyer.
- When discussing the material with another person, e.g. a parent or health provider
- When disclosure is otherwise required or authorised by law.
Personal information will never be used, sold, rented or disclosed for any other purpose.
If clients have concerns about the management of their personal information, they may inform Mental Awakening. Upon request, they can obtain a copy of the Australian Privacy Principles which describe their rights and how their personal information ought to be handled.
Contact by Mental Awakening
Mental Awakening would like to stay in touch with you by email in future to send you information and marketing material about our products, services or activities that we consider may be of interest to you. You may unsubscribe from receiving any marketing communication from us at any time. If you do not wish to receive marketing communications from Mental Awakening, please contact us via the details provided above or opt-out through the ‘Unsubscribe’ link provided at the bottom of our marketing emails.