Detailed Conditions of Service
Detailed Conditions of Service
Student Counselling Confidentiality
In keeping with codes of ethics for counsellors / psychotherapists, the information shared by a client within the context of a counselling relationship is treated in a strictly confidential manner. Information given to a counsellor by a client will not be divulged to others, without the client's consent, except in the following exceptional circumstances: (a) If there is a serious concern that there may be a threat to the safety or life of the client or others. (b) In the context of criminal behaviour and disclosures required by legal process. (c) In the context of child protection issues.
In the context of such exceptional circumstances information may be given to the appropriate third parties without the students consent. Every reasonable effort will be made by staff to inform the client of their intended actions. However, protecting the safety of the client and the safety of others takes precedence.
Apart from the exceptional circumstances previously specified, information is shared with other services / third parties only with the client's consent.
Our primary method of contacting you will be by text or phone call to your mobile phone number. If this is not possible or appropriate, we will contact you on a land line or email address that you designate.
Students Attending Other Medical / Helping Professionals
Students may already be attending other medical or helping professionals when they present to SCD. In such circumstances permission for consultation among professionals involved in the clients care may be needed for the purposes of providing an integrated, effective therapeutic response to the client.
If the client grants permission for information sharing with specified, relevant others the following will apply. Information will be shared with sensitivity and only on a need to know basis. The counsellor will clarify to whom the information will be imparted and for what purpose. The client has the right to withdraw consent at any time and to have that decision respected.
When Counselling is Not Enough
There are circumstances in which counselling is not advisable unless other helping professionals, such as a doctor or possibly a psychiatrist are also involved in the care of the client. If this arises, the counsellor will explain the reasons that the referral is deemed to be in the client's best interest/necessary. If a client is unwilling to give consent to the referral, that decision will be respected, except in previously specified situations of danger which warrant the breaking of confidentiality. If the client declines to attend a doctor, the implications of their choice, in terms of availing of counselling will be fully explained and discussed. A student may revise their decision at any point.
Responding to Requests for Information from Third Parties
SCD will not disclose any information about clients of the service without their explicit consent. This includes a refusal to confirm whether a student is attending the service or not.
Concerned staff members, family members, or friends who refer students to SCD sometimes wish to know whether the student attended or not. We will not disclose any information re attendance without the explicit permission of the client.
If however a student, who is considered to be at risk, has been referred by a third party, and fails to attend for a first appointment, the service will inform the referrer of non-attendance. The rationale being that (a) there is risk involved and (b) the student is not a client of the service and a contract of counselling confidentiality has not been agreed.
If third parties contact SCD expressing serious concerns that a student who may be a client of the service is at risk, the service will take the following steps:
An internal inquiry regarding the attendance of the student will be carried out.
If they are attending the service, the counsellor involved will be alerted.
If it is considered appropriate, contact will be made with the person deemed to be at risk if they are a client of the service and they will be informed of the concerns of the third party.
The counsellor in consultation with the H.O.D. or deputy, will make a decision as to the appropriateness of breaking confidentiality based on the level of risk presented.
We maintain case notes on all clients who attend the service. These are kept confidentially on hard copy, by the counsellor whom you are attending. They are confidentially shredded by the service 7 years following the ending of your counselling. Your details will also be kept on a database, anonymously, for statistical purposes only.
Supporting Students in Circumstances When Counselling is Not Indicated
It is not always the case that counselling is either the appropriate or optimal response for students who present to the service in distress. Yet they need support in the context of that distress. Student Counselling & Development will engage with students to help them identify and if possible access the appropriate supports or treatment options needed. This type of support is distinguished from counselling and the conditions of Use of Service which operate when a counselling contract exists do not apply. In all circumstances personal information given to SCD by a student will be treated with respect and the utmost discretion in keeping with section 6 of the UCC Mental Health Policy
The Student Counselling Service has a complaints policy, which is linked to other relevant college policies. This can be accessed from the "Feedback" section on the UCC Student Counselling & Development website.
Feedback to Student Counselling & Development
We would appreciate frank feedback on your experience as a user of SCD, so that we may evaluate and develop the service delivered to students.