How Is Personal Information Handled on VIP?
A psychologist is sworn to uphold confidentiality, not just for ethical reasons, but also as a matter of law. I use a non-judgemental and open-minded approach in my sessions, but I am also a person of principles. My principles include upholding ethical standards, caring about clients, appreciating honesty and respecting privacy.
Personal data provided for billing purposes is not to be used for anything else than completing the requirements of a standard invoice. Just like you have to hand in some data to Amazon for shopping purposes, I do need some data to create your invoice, of course. You will notice that I do not accept insurance. Insurance companies often request entire patient records, therefore decreasing privacy protections. I am a true believer in keeping our conversations entirely confidential and securing process privacy to the maximum.
Information exchanged during the sessions, chat and voice sessions, is only between the psychologist and the client. Anything discussed during the session is private and cannot be taken outside of the bounds of the session. For example, if you and me just had a conversation, all contents of that conversation are our secret. I am neither allowed nor willing to talk about your personal matters with anyone else, no matter who he or she may be. I have also contacted Skype and I have asked about the privacy concerns of calls. I have received confirmation that all calls are encrypted.
Our sessions are not recorded or copied. There is no archive of our conversation. I take personal notes with a pen and paper, called “process notes”. In those notes, you are referred to with a random client number, such as 0218A83. The notes do not hold your personal details, they only have information that I need to do my work, such as a diagnosis, if you have been given one. The purpose of my notes is to remember our history the next time we talk. You can probably imagine that it is necessary to have some notes on the sessions, especially with increasing client numbers. This is in your best interest, to not have to recap every time you book a new session. Psychotherapy notes are kept separate from the rest of your record.
My job is to be a professional, to be discrete and to protect your best interests. My persona is moral, of private nature and trustworthy. The relationship between a client and the psychologist (me) is a relationship of trust, and it is a two way road. Just like I need to take a leap of faith on you, you need to take one on me, too. I am not asking for your trust straight away. But I am asking you to get to know me. Test me. See if I understand you. Find out we are a good “fit”. I will regularly offer trial sessions, to make the option to learn to trust me available to you, without any financial burden.
My goal is to assist you in the pursuit of happiness, to resolve any issues you have through our cooperative efforts, to provide relief of cloudy thoughts and to take away the pain you may feel. Everybody has the right to experience a life of joy and the right to be able to talk to a person of trust. Our session is not a confession. Our relationship is similar to a friendship, except that I have the knowledge and skills to do much more than to just listen.
If you have any further questions about privacy concerns, you are welcome to contact me. In terms of legal regulations, please consult an attorney in your state of residence to acquire specific knowledge.