2.1 Security and confidentiality

A core ethical requirement of counselling is that it is done securely and confidentially (BACP, 2018, section 55). However, it needs to be understood that ‘absolute security in the digital world does not exist’ (BACP, 2019a, p. 6). What this means is that counsellors need to take steps to maximise the security and hence confidentiality of any data from clients. Activity 4 will help you learn more about what this means.

Activity 4: Maximising data security

Timing: Allow approximately 10 minutes

Match the following security aims with the recommended actions listed below:

Using the following two lists, match each numbered item with the correct letter.

  1. Protection against an electronic data breach by the provider/platform

  2. Protection against an electronic data breach by third parties

  3. Protection against a physical data breach

  • a.Use providers and electronic platforms that meet the privacy and quality standards for healthcare digital communication

  • b.Ensure that communication with clients cannot be overheard or seen

  • c.Avoid using unsecured Wi-Fi; keep firewalls and virus protection up-to-date; use password protection and encryption; work with clients to ensure that they are also taking steps to protect against a data breach

The correct answers are:
  • 1 = a
  • 2 = c
  • 3 = b

2 Technological, legal, ethical and practical considerations

2.2 GDPR, contracting and insurance