The aims of the new legislation ensures information is:

• used fairly and lawfully

• used for limited, specifically stated purposes

• used in a way that is adequate, relevant and not excessive

• kept for no longer than is necessary

• kept safe and secure

• not transferred outside the European Economic Area (EEA) without adequate protection

Art Therapy is about empowerment and relationships - we share within a trusting, open communication and equanimous relationship. In early contacts with you I explain as much as I can who I am, what Art Therapy is, how the sessions will be structured, and what information I will need from you - all to enable you to make an informed choice about engaging in it and to enable me to offer this unique service safely, ethically and professionally with you.  

I, Alison Hawtin, as an independent Art Therapist am responsible for taking the lead on compliance, personal data, information on procedures, dealing with both internal and external access requests and how the information collected is used.  When I work commissioned by or on behalf of an organisation I will adhere to both their and my data policies.   I never pass any of your information on to other parties without your express permission or outside of the descriptions below.  I absolutely never sell any details.

Why do I need the information I hold?
I need to request and store your details in order to administer and deliver the service you have requested, and to comply with any legal or professional body responsibilities that ensue in the delivering of that service.

    You will be asked to complete an application form, which will include your name, address, contact details (email and/or phone number) DOB/age, relevant health history/information, preferred contact/next of kin and GP details as standard.  You will be invited to include your reasons for attending Art Therapy and you will need to sign your informed consent/agreement to the T&C's.   It is good practice to inform your GP or other significant professional that you are attending Art therapy and we usually decide together who that will be and who will inform them.   If you are under 16 the application will be co-signed by your parent/responsible adult.
  • PHONE NUMBERS and texts sent (if you choose to use this form of communication between sessions) from these numbers are stored in my phone under initials or a single name only.  The phone is password protected. 
  • EMAILS -  I will keep and use your email address in regard to your art therapy.  
    You will continue to see on the bottom of every email my signature, designation, contact details and HCPC registration number.   
    Any detailed or private information you choose to send via your email is your choice and responsibility.   To date I have not been able to guarantee that my email is fully secure and this is always written on the bottom of every email you receive, and so when email is your preferred communication route, the manner and content you have chosen to share in this way has determined my reply within the same style and parameters, although I endeavour to generalise and anonymise where I can.  I now have a fully encrypted and confidential email address and invite you to open a proton mail account for ease of this communication route.  If you do not, I will need to use it with minimal information and send sensitive material with password protection.  You will be given the password via an alternative means.  
  • I store relevant emails in a folder on my laptop, which is double password protected.  I am continuing to seek ways to further enhance the encryption and safest storage but if you are unhappy with this please let me know and I will either print and file them or dispose of them (this depends on clinical need).  
    To undertake the work fully, safely and professionally, as well as to receive payment, I will need to send you or relevant others (such as GP's or paying authorities) letters, invoices, application forms and/or other relevant documents.  I may also need to receive these from others.  
    I will use the least information needed for these to be functional and meaningful.  I will store these for my records.  
    I will write and send detailed reports or letters to you and/or outside agencies/persons if you have requested and given your express consent for this, via the encrypted email system described above.    
    If you pay by BACS please be aware that your chosen reference name/number will appear on my bank records which I must keep for 7 years for HMRC purposes.  If these are identifying, will endeavour to black these out on any paper statements where possible.  
    As a psychotherapeutic professional I must work within the law and data protection legislation (, the requirements of my insurer (, my professional Body (, my registrant Body ( and any organisations you may be linked with such as Education, Social or Health services.  This can be a complex ground to navigate as each can have different emphases or requirements on retention, complexity and storage of your Art Therapy related work.  I do write clinical notes to assist me in my work.  I (often) store your art work to assist you in your therapy.  I visit a skilled clinical supervisor to assist me in reflecting on the work to ensure I am doing the best job I can.   I may take photos to send/take to my clinical supervision or to print/file for your own use in therapy or later.  

All of these areas listed require me to request, store and write data about you.  I hold this information as securely as I can, keeping only what is necessary both before, during and after your therapy has concluded in line with the considerations of all the guidelines and agencies listed above.  If paper, these are stored in a locked filing cabinet, if electronic, they are double password protected and where possible, encrypted.  I am continuing to seek clarity on how much and how long I must retain this information and will alter my actions in response to new information and tools, keeping you informed here and directly if we are in active work together.  Currently my understanding is that I must retain your notes for 7 years after therapy ends or your 18th birthday.  

Unless a life threatening emergency or safeguarding issue, I will, as a professional and ethical therapist always inform you and seek your consent from start to finish of our work together.  

If you have any queries please do not hesitate to ask.