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The British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP) is a membership organisation and a registered charity that sets standards for therapeutic practice and provides information for therapists, clients of therapy, and the general public.
As the largest professional body representing counselling and psychotherapy in the UK, BACP aim to increase public understanding of the benefits of counselling and psychotherapy, raise awareness of what can be expected from the process of therapy and promote education and/or training for counsellors and psychotherapists'. www.BACP.co.uk

'In 2010, the government announced plans to make psychological therapies more widely available on the NHS. This is because they have been recognised internationally as effective treatments for common mental health conditions." www.NHS.co.uk 2011'



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All Open Counselling counsellers are members of the BACP and work to thier code of ethics.

All complaints should be taken up firstly with the counseller in question, secondly with the director of Open Counselling. Who would then advise of the official complaints procedure through the BACP

Confidentiality: Counselling Service policy: Confidentiality
The counsellors at  Open Counselling are  aware of their responsibility both to clients who come for counselling and to the wider community. At times there can be tensions between the need to maintain an agreement of confidentiality with the individual client, and the counsellor's awareness of the needs of the wider community. This statement aims to define the response of the Counselling Service to these tensions.
The counsellors are members of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, and adhere to its Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy. The Framework draws attention to issues of confidentiality in discussing two key ethical principles: ‘Fidelity’ and ‘Autonomy’.

Fidelity: Honoring the trust placed in the practitioner
Being trustworthy is regarded as fundamental to understanding and resolving ethical issues. Practitioners who adopt this principle: act in accordance with the trust placed in them; regard confidentiality as an obligation arising from the client's trust; restrict any disclosure of confidential information about clients to furthering the purposes for which it was originally disclosed.’

Autonomy: Respect for the client's right to be self-governing
This principle emphasises the importance of the client's commitment to participating in counselling or psychotherapy, usually on a voluntary basis. Practitioners who respect their clients' autonomy ... protect privacy; protect confidentiality; normally make any disclosures of confidential information conditional on the consent of the person concerned ...’
Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy BACP 2001/2002, p3

The counsellors do not normally divulge information about whether or not a self-referred client has attended counselling, or what was discussed within a session, to any third party: fellow client, doctor, member of staff or parent.   Sometimes a counselling client requests that information is passed on (for example, if a 'medical certificate equivalent' is needed for a tutor), or the counsellor feels that it might be helpful to communicate with another person, such as a doctor. In these circumstances, the counsellor would discuss with the client the nature and form of such a communication and obtain their explicit permission (usually by asking them to sign an Exchange of Confidential Information Form).

All the counsellors attend counselling supervision and team meetings in which cases are discussed, but the identity of clients is disguised. Counsellors may also discuss cases with the psychiatric consultant to the Counselling Service on a similar basis. The counsellors keep records for statistical purposes, and individual notes, which are held securely. An individual who would like to see their notes can discuss this with their counsellor.

The BACP Framework acknowledges that in some circumstances, particularly where a client may be at risk of serious self-harm, or harm to others, a counsellor may face a dilemma about whether or not to breach confidentiality:

In reaching such a decision, a counsellor would attempt to assess the severity and immediacy of the risk involved, and to distinguish between, for example, violent intent and violent fantasy. As the Framework indicates, any decision to breach confidentiality would normally be discussed with a supervisor, psychiatric consultant or experienced colleague.
In deciding whether or not to breach confidentiality the counsellor will also consider where to pass on information, on a 'need to know' basis. In the case of a suicidal client, for example, this will usually be a doctor or other medical professional. If a client were posing a threat to the safety of others, it might be necessary to involve the police. The BACP Framework is clear that any breaking of confidentiality should be done in a careful and controlled way:

‘In all cases, the aim should be to ensure for the client a good quality of care that is as respectful of the client's capacity for self-determination and their trust as circumstances permit.’

Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy BACP 2001/2002 p6
There may be occasions where an individual is behaving in a way that others find disturbing, but unless the counsellor feels that their client is a risk to self or others, they will not pass on information about them. Although counsellors will not discuss individual clients without their permission, the Service is happy to accept referrals who are concerned about an individual, or unsure about how to respond to a situation; such enquiries can often be made without naming the student involved.

The Counselling Service appreciates the extent to which our clients respect this policy on confidentiality, even if they can sometimes find it frustrating. The Service hopes that this statement clarifies the thinking behind its approach, and the counsellors are happy to discuss particular issues relating to this. The counsellors believe that it is in the interests of the  community to have a Counselling Service that offers clients a promise that confidentiality will be maintained in all but the exceptional circumstances discussed in this document.

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