Privacy Notice


Your privacy is very important to Heart of Harrogate Counselling and you can be confident that all personal information you provide will be kept safe and secure and will only be used for the purpose it was provided. 

Heart of Harrogate Counselling adheres to data protection legislation, including the General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR), the Data Protection Act 2018 and the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003.

This privacy notice outlines how the personal information you provide, from initial point of contact through to the conclusion of counselling, is handled. This includes:

  • Why your information is processed and for what purpose
  • How long it is stored for
  • Who the information is shared with
  • Whether automated decision-making or profiling is conducted, and
  • Your data protection rights

‘Data controller’ is the term used to describe the organisation that collects and stores and has responsibility for personal data. In this instance, the data controller is: Helen Smith of Heart of Harrogate Counselling.


Contact information 

Heart of Harrogate Counselling is contactable at:

Address:        Ashgarth Court, Harrogate, HG2 9LE

Telephone:    07563 179 031




Lawful basis for holding and using your personal information

The UK GDPR states there must be a lawful basis for processing your personal data. There are different lawful bases depending on the stage at which Heart of Harrogate Counselling is processing your data. These are explained below:

  • If you have had therapy, which has now ended, “legitimate interest” is used as the lawful basis for holding and using your personal information


  • If you are currently having therapy or if you are in contact to consider therapy, your personal data will be processed where it is necessary for the performance of the contract.


  • The UK GDPR also requires any sensitive personal information provided is appropriately handled. This type of information is called “special category personal information”. The lawful basis for processing this type of information is for provision of health treatment (in this case counselling and psychotherapy services) and necessary for a contract with a health professional (i.e. between client and therapist).


How your information is used:

Initial contact:

Upon making initial contact to enquire about counselling services, your information will be collected to assist the enquiry, which includes:

“Name, telephone number, email address and nature of enquiry” information.

If you decide not to proceed, your personal data is deleted within NINETY DAYS. If you would prefer your information to be deleted sooner than this, please provide a written notice, see ‘contact information’.


While you are accessing counselling:

A record of your personal details may be maintained to help Heart of Harrogate Counselling run smoothly. These details are retained securely in that paper records are kept in a locked safe with access restricted to only Helen Smith and computerised records are firewall and password protected.  

Your personal information may exist within: 

  • Text messages
  • Emails
  • Client intake document
  • Counselling contract
  • Written notes
  • Bank statements  

Please be aware that all counsellors are required to undergo regular supervision, of which some details of your counselling may be discussed to ensure safe and ethical practice. Your information is presented in an anonymised way and is treated confidentially by supervisors. Rest assured, confidentiality is at the heart of counselling supervision. 

After counselling has terminated.

Unless subject of a court order, or legal requirement, your electronic and hard copy information is stored securely for 5 years (or until you have turned 18 for children and young people) after counselling services have terminated before being deleted/shredded. If you would prefer your information to be deleted sooner than this, please provide a written notice, to the contact details provided above. 


Third party recipients of personal data

Your personal information may be shared with selected third parties, for example, for the purposes of supervision. In such cases, third parties are carefully selected, and an agreement exists stating what they are allowed to do with any data shared to them. The agreement stipulates your information is not used in any way other than the task for which they have been contracted.


Your rights

You have a right to request your personal information be deleted; to limit how your personal information is used, or to stop processing your personal information. 

You have a right to request a copy of any information held about you and to object to the use of your personal data in some circumstances. You can read more about your rights at


Where personal information is held about you, you can request:

  • A description of it and where it came from
  • Why it us being held, and how long it will be stored for
  • Who it could be disclosed to
  • A copy of the information in an intelligible form
  • To have any mistakes corrected

Please use the contact details provided at the top:

  • To make a request for any personal information held about you
  • To make a complaint about how your personal information is handled
  • To provide any feedback regarding these data protection procedures

If you would like to make a formal complaint about the way your personal information is processed, 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

The security of all data held about you is taken very seriously and every effort is taken to ensure it is kept secure by applying a ‘defence in depth’ strategy covering physical, technical, and administrative security throughout Heart of Harrogate Counselling.




Covid-19 Policy

My obligation to you:

  • I will disinfect the counselling space before each new client arrives.
  • I will keep the space well ventilated before, during and after counselling. 
  • I will allow minimum of 30 minutes between clients.  
  • Hand sanitiser is available for you to use on arrival and I will have used this. 
  • We will aim to maintain a social distance of 2 metres in our seating positions.
  • Should you wish to wear a face mask or request that I wear one; that is fine.
  • Although, I am double vaccinated, I will still inform you if I am identified as a close contact of someone with Covid-19 so you can make the decision over whether to attend face to face counselling with me. In this situation, counselling will take place online.
  • If I develop symptoms of Covid-19, I will follow government guidelines. 

Your commitment to me:

  • I ask that you adhere to current government guidelines and, if you develop symptoms of Covid-19, you will notify me as soon as possible so we can make alternative arrangements. If you feel well enough, your counselling will be transferred to online therapy for the duration of your quarantine
  • You will use the hand sanitiser on arrival.




Social Media Policy


The basis for this policy is to truly protect our therapeutic relationship and your confidentiality in session. As a counsellor, I must keep my relationship with you completely confidential (except in cases of where you might harm yourself or others). Thus, if you post on Heart of Harrogate’s page, people may infer as to how we are connected. You have a choice as to what you reveal about yourself online, however I will not reveal my connection to you. This policy explains how I handle different social media encounters:

FRIENDING - To respect your privacy and confidentiality, I do not accept friend requests on my personal Facebook page from current or former clients.

LIKING - You may “like” Heart of Harrogate’s Facebook business page if you wish to. However, the information on my Facebook page is often on my website as well. If you “like” my page, you are choosing to reveal that you are connected to me in some way. My business page exists to be a forum of information and inspiration. I will acknowledge I have read a comment but will not engage in conversations with you on my page. However, if you find it helpful then that is great!

FOLLOWING – I may sometimes publish blogs on Heart of Harrogate’s website. I have no expectation that clients will want to follow my blog. You are welcome to use your own discretion in choosing whether to follow me. Note that I will not follow you back. If there are things from your online life that you wish to share with me, please bring them into our sessions where we can view and explore them together, during the therapeutic hour.

INTERACTING - Please do not use messaging on social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to contact me. If there was an emergency I would not be able to respond in a timely way, as I do not check these accounts daily. The best way to interact with me is by email or phone. If you post on Heart of Harrogate’s Facebook wall, it may create the possibility that these exchanges become a part of your legal medical record and will need to be documented and archived.

USE OF SEARCH ENGINES - I do not “Google” clients or look up information on them for any reason. I think it is important that I know you as you are in the counselling room. If I do come across your information online, I will move on and avoid reading content.

EMAIL - I prefer using email to arrange or modify appointments. Please do not email me with specific content related to your counselling sessions, as email is not completely secure or confidential. If you choose to communicate with me by email, be aware that all emails are retained in the logs of our Internet service providers. Whilst it is unlikely that someone will be looking at these logs, they are, in theory, available to be read by the system administrator(s) of the Internet service provider.



If you use location-based services on your mobile phone, you may wish to be aware of the privacy issues relating to using these services. Heart of Harrogate is on Google My Business. Therefore, if you have GPS tracking enabled on your device, those who you have agreed can locate you via your  phone may surmise that you are a counselling client due to being 'seen' at the same place on a weekly basis. 

Thank you for taking the time to review my Social Media Policy. If you have questions or concerns about any of these policies and procedures or regarding our potential interactions on the Internet, do bring them to my attention so that we can discuss them.


Please use the button below to email me, which acts as an e-signature, to confirm that you have read and agreed to the Privacy Notice, Covid-19 Policy and  Social Media Policy. 


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