Your Information & Me

Privacy Policy

Laura How Counselling & Guidance is committed to complying with the terms of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) made on 25th May 2018, and to the responsible and secure use of your personal data. As a counsellor, I have a legitimate interest in processing personal data to provide counselling services. As part of my commitment to the privacy of existing and future clients, this policy is intended to give insight into the data I collect about you, how I use it, how I store it, and how it is shared.

Please note, my website contains links to other websites that may be of interest. However, I have no control over other websites. Therefore, I cannot be responsible 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. You should exercise caution and look at their privacy policies.

What are the reasons for collecting information?

I am only allowed to collect personal information for proper and lawful reasons. At every stage of my relationship with you, your information will only be processed if it meets at least one of the following conditions:

  • To fulfill my counselling agreement with you. This includes the collection of information before we enter into an explicit or implicit counselling agreement, during your counselling and after the counselling has ended.
  • To ensure I am giving you a professional and ethical service that complies with the requirements of my insurers.
  • When it is my legal duty to collect, store, use or transfer information to comply with legislation or the instructions of a court of law
  • When it is required to maintain your safety, the safety of third parties, or my own safety.
  • To monitor the effectiveness of my website, and/or other marketing activity
  • To enable financial transactions between us

How is information collected?

The personal identifiable information I collect, store and use come entirely from website forms, our conversations, emails, texts, online counselling and phone calls.

The information others may hold comes from financial transactions between us.

What information will you hold about me?

Whether or not you become a client of my counselling service, I will use your personal data for the purposes of initiating counselling for you. I collect the majority of this information from website contact forms, during first contact and during sessions. I will advise you if any of this data is optional.

Enquiries via my website contact form

Enquiries submitted through the Contact Form on my website collects your name, email and a brief description on what your enquiry is about, so that I can arrange to contact you to discuss counselling and/or arrange an initial appointment. Enquiries submitted via my website contact form are sent to me directly by email and once they are successfully delivered are then deleted from the website systems.

During or shortly after first contact (telephone call)

I will collect (either on the phone or via a website form) the following information in order to establish if I can provide you with counselling:

  • Your name
  • Contact information including your email address and phone number
  • A brief description of what has led you to seek counselling

Before our first in person or online session

Before your initial appointment you will be asked to fill out a website questionnaire which will include the following information:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Gender
  • Contact information, including your address, email address and phone number
  • Next of kin name and contact details
  • General health information
  • Other information relevant to you engaging in counselling with me, e.g. prescribed medications and the name of your GP practice
  • More in depth information about what has led you to seek counselling
  • A relationship satisfaction survey (for couples only)

Information submitted via my website forms are sent to me directly by email and once they are successfully delivered are then deleted from the website systems.

During our counselling relationship

  • Following each counselling session, I record short factual notes. These are stored digitally and securely. These notes are not shared with anyone unless I am legally required to do so. Private therapeutic information, such as counselling contract, assessment information, background information, therapeutic information and any email correspondence that’s relevant to your counselling process (this is usually correspondence that you have sent to me) will be filed digitally and securely. All paper records are destroyed.
  • Information about Agreements & Consent such as signed letters of consent.
  • Information about financial transactions between us.

What do you do with the information you gather?

I collect this information to understand your needs and to provide you with a service.

How do you store information about me?


  • Contact information – Held on phone, computer and backed up in the cloud and locally.
  • Emails – These are held on a computer, phone and are backed up on local devices.
  • SMS Texts -These are held on a phone and backed up in cloud storage. My mobile phone is is password protected and details are stored in cloud storage so they can be restored if my phone is lost or stolen.
  • I do not keep any paper records.

Who I may share personally identifiable information with:

  • Statutory bodies when required to by law or instruction of a court of law
  • Your emergency contacts in case of an emergency
  • Statutory bodies when required to avoid harm to you, me or others
  • For reasons of public interest in the area of public healthMy accrediting/ethical membership body, insurers and professional advisers in the case of you making a complaint against me
  • A lawyer – If your information is requested by a court or you raise a legal action against me I may take legal advice, in order to clarify whether the court has jurisdiction, and whether the request meets the strict legal criteria required in such cases. In this situation, I may consult a lawyer to help me make an informed decision about whether to release some or all the information I hold to the court. Personal information pertinent to the decision will be made available to the lawyer, who will be bound by a Professional Code of Conduct.

Who I may share anonymised personal information with:

  • Professional counselling supervisor/s in order to ensure I am practicing effectively, safely and ethically

With your written permission I may share anonymised information with:

  • Other counsellors when attending workshops, or other Continuous Professional Development events
  • Counselling tutors and examiners to gain additional qualifications and accreditation.

How long will you keep my information?

I will keep your information for a variety of lengths of time depending on how it is held.


I will never use your information for marketing, or contact you to market a service to you unless you have specifically given consent in writing. For example by signing up to my monthly newsletter.

Sending of information outside the EU

I will not knowingly send your personal information outside the EU unless:

  • I am required to in order to comply with the instructions of a Court of Law
  • I have to do so in order to defend myself against a legal action or a complaint brought by you.

Your rights

Unless subject to an exemption under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), you have the following rights with respect to your personal data:

  • the right to access your personal information
  • the right to require me to change any factual mistakes in the information I hold
  • the right to withdraw your consent to the non-essential processing of information*
  • the right to request the deletion/destruction of your personal information*
  • the right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioners Office

* You can withdraw consent to the use of your personal information and/or request its destruction however there are limits to this right laid down in the legislation. For example, you cannot demand the destruction of records of financial transactions.

Concerns and Complaints

If you are concerned about the way that your information is being held please contact me.

Changes to this policy

If I have to make changes to this policy that are inconsistent with the original purposes for which your data was collected I will notify you in advance wherever possible and give you the opportunity to withdraw consent for your information to be processed.