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Why Privacy

This policy is designed to ensure that the information we have about you is used in an appropriate, legal, and secure manner.  It is important for us that you understand that the way we handle your information is not only determined by ME policy or our good intentions.  It is legislated through the Privacy Amendment (Private Sector) Act 2000, the Privacy Act 1988, Australian Privacy Act 2002, and Health Records Act 2002.  It is also regulated by the Australian Psychological Society (APS) and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).

Here at ME, due to the nature of the services we provide, we are privileged to some of the most intimate, sensitive stories our Clients choose to share with us. During the course of your treatment, your psychologist will record details necessary to provide you with best therapeutic value, as well as comply with legislative, ethical, and professional requirements. We feel humbled by the trust our Clients bestow on us.  As a result, we would like to emphasise that we care deeply about reciprocating this trust with utmost concern regarding our Clients’ privacy. We will not disclose any information without our Clients’ explicit permission for us to do so.  Please note that this rule extends to the most trivial of things, like not being able to disclose to your partner when your next session is without you explicitly giving us permission to do so.

The only exceptions to this rule are:

  • The information is subpoenaed by a court, or
  • Failure to disclose the information would place you or another person at serious and imminent risk

Your Permission

We also may disclose information as requested by you. For example, if you choose to access rebates, your referral organisation will typically be billed for the service instead of you.  Different organisations have different privacy policy and you may want to be aware of what the require us to disclose and what they are allowed to do with it.  In general terms, referral organisations want to know that you benefit from the service and that we in fact use acceptable treatments. To do that, there may be some process of quality assurance, or multi-disciplinary team work.  For example, Medicare Australia requires that the Psychologist and the referring Doctor coordinate /communicate about their treatment with each other.

Research and Evaluation

Here at ME, we are a learning organisation.  That is to say that we employ what is called the “scientist-practitioner” model.  As a result, your psychologist will ask your permission to use assessment, treatment, and symptom level data in order to perform a scientific investigation of a subject matter. This information will be stored separately, without your personal identifying information (anonymously).  Please note that our professionals are trained in empirical methods and undergo constant ongoing professional development.  You do not have to agree to participate; it is your right to do so.  Please feel free to ask us for more details on the research conducted at ME.

Some information, but not personally identifying information, may be discussed within professional development activities, with the intent to increase therapist’s skills and advance the field of psychology.  This is done, so that ultimately, we service our Clients the best we possibly can.

Here at ME, your information is stored in a secure electronic manner. We believe that eliminating the need in storing Client information on paper files may improve the security of our Clients’ personal data. As a result, we aim to create a truly paperless practice where possible.  more on eHealth in Au

Research Information

  • Who is conducting the research? Your treating psychologist.
  • Who can participate? This research aims to work with Clients of Mind Zone Psychology (ME) who choose to participate in this study.
  • Why is the research being conducted? As part of being a learning organisation, we regularly conduct research and participate in academic investigations into the effectiveness of different treatment modalities as applicable to variety of Client presentations. 
  • What you will be asked to do? Our Clients are not expected to perform any additional tasks.  The research is conducted using the data collected in a course of typical psychotherapy.  The results are then statistically analysed to provide empirical evidence in evaluating and guiding psychotherapy and assessments.
  • The expected benefits of the research. It is expected that the results of this research will contribute to better theoretical and practical foundations in psychotherapy and assessment in mental health.
  • Risks to you. I do not anticipate any risks to the participants in these studies. 
  • Your confidentiality. Your confidentiality is ensured as neither your name nor any other identifying features are used in the calculations and the dissemination of the results.  Your name is not stored with the assessment results, but is replaced with a meaningless number, which is used to track your results for future comparison.
  • Your participation is voluntary. If you wish, you may choose not to participate in the study.  It is your right to do this if you wish.
  • Questions/further information. If you still have questions about this research, please feel free to contact your therapist.  If you wish to receive a summary of the results of the study you participated in, please let your therapist know.  Of course, no personal data will be available, only group results.
  • The ethical conduct of this research. The Australian Psychological Society Code of Ethics guides the ethical conduct of this research.  This is done under the direction of ME psychologist, who can be contacted if there are any concerns regarding the study.  Alternatively, ME Regional Coordinator can be contacted on regional@mindzone.com.au
  • Expressing consent. If you sign at the bottom of the information and consent sheet and then return it to the researcher it is deemed that you have given your consent to participate in this research project.  Alternatively, you may be asked to tick the YES button on an electronic form. This also constitutes consent.  Please, make a note of the information on this page in case you need to refer to it at a later date.

If you want to know more about privacy in the health sector in Australia, please visit the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, which was integrated into the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) here: http://www.privacy.gov.au/business/health

If you have any concerns regarding how we used your personal sensitive information, please contact the Regional Coordinator here: regional@mindzone.com.au 

Talking about it

At your first session (and at any other time you choose as well), your Psychologist will discuss confidentiality with you and ensure you understand how what you are telling us is treated.

If you are referred to us by a doctor or other health professional, we will typically collaborate with them regarding the recommendations for service, your concerns, and your progress. We will work with your referrer as a multidisciplinary team.  Detailed and intimate information will not be provided.  This is a requirement by Medicare and many other organisations and is typically in your advantage.  If you are concerned about these reports please discuss this with us and we will do our best to alleviate any concerns. 

If you are involved in a court case and our file is subpoenaed by court, or your psychologist has to appear, we are legally not allowed to withhold any relevant information from the court.  Finally, some information, but not personally identifying information, may be discussed within professional development activities and research, with the intent to increase therapists’ skills and advance the field of psychology.  This is done, so that ultimately, we service our Clients the best we possibly can.

If your psychologist forms a professional opinion that you, the Client, or another individual is at risk of significant harm, a legal obligation may exist to act on this information with the aim of preventing such harm, regardless of your consent.  In this case, only minimal information necessary to prevent this harm may be disclosed.

If you are a minor (under 18 years of age) we are obliged to keep your parent(s) or guardian(s) informed of your progress if they ask.  But we are not obliged to provide them with the details of our discussions with you.  If your costs for consulting with us are being paid by a third party (e.g. Employment Agency) you should have a clear agreement with them regarding their access to the personal information that you provide to us.  If you have any concern regarding the management of your personal information, please contact the Regional Coordinator regional@mindzone.com.au