All posts by Richard Cruz

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) 2018 – My private policy

My consultations with you are confidential.

Professional and ethical guidelines require me to have regular clinical supervision to discuss my work with my clients. Consultations with my clinical supervisor are also confidential.

In the event that we see each other outside of our sessions (in the street, or in a shop, for example), I will not acknowledge you unless you acknowledge me first. This is to maintain your confidentiality.

Couples therapy: I usually work with both partners together. Occasionally, I may have a one-to-one session with each partner. The one-to-one session is kept confidential. It is the responsibility of each partner to disclose to each other the conversations held during their one-to-one meeting. I will not disclose conversations. It means that I may hold information that has not been disclosed by one of the partners.

The circumstances that require the breach of confidentiality are:

1. If I am sufficiently concerned that you may harm yourself or a third party.

2. Children or vulnerable adults being at significant risk of harm currently (current sexual, physical, psychological or financial abuse)

3. Acts of terrorism

4. Drug or people trafficking

5. Money laundering

6. I may be subpoenaed by a court to give evidence under oath.

If you pay my fee by bank card, my name may appear on your bank statement.

I abide by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) 2018. The personal information I hold about you (name, home address, e-mail address, telephone number, medical history, etc.) is stored in a locked cupboard. Only I have access to it.

I do not share any data about you to third parties.

You have the right to request your personal information to be corrected or erased at any time, in writing. For legal purposes, I have to keep some data about you. We can discuss your requirements and come to an agreement together.

In the event of my sudden incapacity to work, a professional executor will take responsibility for my clients, in which case your identity would be disclosed to the executor. Executors are bound by the same professional and ethical guidelines of confidentiality.

I write brief notes about what I discuss with you in sessions. Your notes are kept electronically and are encrypted. Only I have access to them. I don’t write your name or any other people’s names on my notes to maintain confidentiality. You have the right to request a copy of your notes, in writing.

Clinical notes on couples therapy remains the confidential material of the couple relationship and one partner cannot request access without the consent of the other. I will meet your request within one month, without charge.

I keep all the information I hold about you, including notes, for seven years after the end of therapy. After seven years I destroy all data and notes I have about you.

If your work with me is funded by CIGNA, BUPA, AVIVA or PruHealth, I use their secure platforms for invoicing and other communications. Any personal data that I share with them will be for the purpose of securing further funding and will be discussed with you first.

If you fall ill during a consultation, I will call the emergency services and disclose your name and any medications you take.

For the purpose of training and writing for the contribution to the field of psychotherapy, I may use some materials of what I discuss with my clients for case studies. When doing so, all of my clients’ identifying information are disguised to ensure confidentiality. Before starting therapy, you will have the opportunity to opt in authorising me to do so, or not.

I will use your preferred methods of contact: e-mails, texts or phone calls. Please note that these methods are not secure, therefore we cannot guarantee complete confidentiality. It is best not to discuss or write personal or sensitive information on a text or in an e-mail. If you require me to e-mail clinical notes with sensitive and personal information about you, I will do so in the form of a password-protected document.

In the event that I need to make a referral to another appropriate professional, you will have the opportunity to opt in to authorise me to do so, or not.

My registration number with the ICO (Information Commissioners Office) is A8344050.

Do you agree to me using your data I this way? Please reply to my email address with your consent, or let me know if you have any further questions.

If you wish to remove your agreement to my use of your data at any point please let me know by phone or email.

If you have any concerns about how I have handled your data, you can complain to the Information commissioner’s office.

For more information on the Information Commissioner and the GDPR, please visit

How Does Couples Therapy Work?

To initiate, be in and sustain a couple relationship of enduring quality is one of the biggest challenges faced by humans. It is testament to the lengths and integrity that some couples go to in seeking resolution to their problems that give therapists like myself a career!

Given the challenges of work, children, money, sex, familiarity, ageing, etc, is it any wonder we find staying together difficult and often wondering whether the grass is greener or simply to go it alone?

Wouldn’t it be so easy if it was as cut and dried as that; our partner irritates us to the nth degree, so much so that we feel we have nothing in common with them anymore, we have lost connection and dare we think it, fallen out of love with them. The build up of resentments have built a wall so high and so dense that on merely being in each other’s vicinity feels like the proverbial opposing magnetic forces.

This is often the make or break time; couples have tried everything within their power to sort it out themselves, being amazingly creative I hasten to add. But often it’s not enough, they are disconnected from each other and repeat the same self-defeating patterns that undermine the sprouting of any green shoots of emotional growth and development. It is often at this point that they resort to contact a couples therapist.

Oh dear, all seems so gloomy up to now, hopeless, stuck, a sense of not knowing what anyone wants anymore, often ‘loving’ each other intellectually but not ‘in love’ with each other, simply going through the physical motions of a life of tenuous ‘togetherness’.

Believe it or not, in these seemingly desperate and painful times, lies a wealth of unexplored possibilities that can give couples a new and invigorated relationship. The potential shifts that couples can make when they hit rock bottom are transformative to say the least. How? Because intimacy across the board is worked on, improved and prioritised.

One of the intimacy ‘biggies’ is communication, but let’s break that down a bit from being such an abstract term. All couples communicate at some level even if it’s descended into grunting and shouting, which is not useful most of the time. However, what they need help with, and this is my job, is to detect the emotional and feeling state underneath each side of their stories, their perspective, as they see things, as individuals, and help in expressing that.

In my experience growing the emotional tools that help expressing the unsaid is very empowering for both sides of a couples relationship. There’s a snag though, and this is where I come in; firstly, couples will only express the unsaid if it’s a safe environment free from blame and criticism and secondly it takes an attuned partner to actively listen beyond the content of what is being said to the emotional process behind the words.

This all sounds extremely hard work when one considers the ‘temperature’ of the relationship at the outset of therapy. Couples have a lot to say naturally, there has been a gradual build up and storage of resentments and over time it has become a habit to shift blame on to the other and lose sight of one’s own responsibility.

In time however, should the couple engage well in the therapy, I see that temperature drop along with defences and allowing for those green shoots of re-connection to emerge. This is often accompanied with the renewal of sexual intimacy, but as sex and relationship therapists like myself believe, sex or it’s quality will be an issue until the couple have worked on their emotional connecting first.