When we collect personal information from an individual, we will ensure that we do so in a fair manner and that we let the individual know where and how to contact our organisation. We will only collect information that is necessary for one or more of our functions or activities. We will advise individuals of the purpose for which their personal information is collected. If we collect sensitive information (as defined under the Act), we will treat it with the utmost security and confidentiality. We will ensure that it is not collected for any purposes, other than those for which we have obtained the individual’s consent, unless the law requires otherwise, or other exceptional circumstances prevail as described under the Act. Information will be retained securely for a minimum period of seven years.
Where an individual chooses not to provide requested information, we will advise that individual of what consequences this non-disclosure may have. For example, withholding certain information may limit our ability to provide relevant offers or services to individuals.
Withholding personal information
Purpose of holding personal information
A client’s personal information is gathered and used for the purpose of providing psychological services, which includes assessing, diagnosing and treating a client’s presenting issue. The personal information is retained in order to document what happens during sessions, and enables the psychologist to provide a relevant and informed psychological service.
Disclosure of personal information
Clients’ personal information will not be disclosed unless:
- It is subpoenaed by a court; or
- Failure to disclose the information would place a client or another person at serious risk to life, health or safety (in the opinion of the psychologist); or
The client’s prior approval has been obtained to:
- Provide a written report to another professional or agency, e.g. a lawyer; or
- Discuss the material with another person, e.g. a parent, employer or health provider; or
- Disclose the information in another way; or
- Disclosure is otherwise required by law.
- A client’s personal information is not disclosed to overseas recipients, unless the client consents or such disclosure is otherwise required by law. Clients’ personal information will not be used, sold, rented or disclosed for any other purpose.
Unauthorised disclosure or access
As Better Self Psychology is committed to protecting the privacy of individuals, we will view unauthorised disclosure of, or access to, personal information by our employees or contractors, as a serious breach of this policy. Appropriate action (which may include disciplinary or legal action) will be taken in such cases.
Access to client information
At any stage clients may request to see and correct the personal information about them kept on file. The psychologist may discuss the contents with them and/or give them a copy, subject to the exceptions in the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth). If satisfied that personal information is inaccurate, out of date or incomplete, reasonable steps will be taken in the circumstances to ensure that this information is corrected.
All requests by clients for access to or correction of personal information held about them should be lodged with their psychologist. These requests will be responded to in writing within 14 days, and an appointment will be made if necessary for clarification purposes.
Better Self Psychology may occasionally need to deny access to information in accordance with the exemptions contained in the Act.
Our goal is to protect the personal information collected by Better Self Psychology and its associations. Personal information will be managed confidentially and securely and destroyed appropriately when no longer required.
We will monitor and implement appropriate technical advances or management processes, to safeguard personal information.
We will take all reasonable steps to ensure that the data we collect, use or disclose is accurate, complete and up to date, and has been obtained directly from individuals or other reputable sources.
Availability and review of policy
This policy will be reviewed from time to time and any amendments will be incorporated into the updated policy.
If clients have a concern about the management of their personal information, they may inform their psychologist. Upon request, they can obtain a copy of the Australian Privacy Principles, which describe their rights and how their personal information should be handled.