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Guidelines for Client Records

The PACFA Guidelines for Client Records provide good practice guidance for keeping client records for counselling and psychotherapy client work.

Government, professional associations, employers and funding bodies require accurate and appropriate records to be kept of the contact counsellors and psychotherapists have with their clients. Record keeping is an important aspect of being professional and accountable for the services that practitioners provide to clients. Accurate and up-to-date records support quality service delivery and assist in making referrals to other health professionals, when reporting risks to clients or to other parties, and to ensure clients can receive continuity of care.

Application of Guidelines

The guidelines have been developed for counsellors and psychotherapists who are listed on the PACFA National Register and can be adopted by PACFA Member Associations to apply to their members or by other organisations when appropriate.

Practitioners providing supervision services to other practitioners are covered by these guidelines with the supervisee being the ‘client’ in these situations.

Where practitioners are employed by an organisation, or engaged as contractors, they should consider these guidelines taking into account relevant organisational policies and procedures. Organisations that provide counselling and psychotherapy services may find these guidelines a useful resource to inform their own policies and procedures.

Summary of the Guidelines

The Guidelines provide practice guidance in the following areas:

  1. Purpose of client records
  2. Disclosure of record keeping procedures
  3. Content of client records
  4. Responsibility for creating and maintaining client records
  5. Confidentiality of client records
  6. Ownership of client records
  7. Access to client records
  8. Client records and legal proceedings
  9. Client access to records
  10. Retention and disposal of records

Download the Guidelines for Client Records