Does Your Private Practice Need a Data Processing Agreement?

Protecting your client’s sensitive information is of utmost importance as a therapist in private practice. As you know, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requires that any entity processing personal data on behalf of another must have a written agreement in place. This agreement outlines the responsibilities and obligations of both parties in relation to data processing, ensuring that the data is handled in a compliant and secure manner.

What is a Data Processing Agreement?

A data processing agreement (DPA) is a legally binding document to be entered into between the controller and the processor in writing or in electronic form. It regulates the particularities of data processing – such as its scope and purpose – as well as the relationship between the controller and the processor. The data controller is the person who determines the purpose and means of the data processing. The data processor is the person who processes data on behalf of a controller in accordance with the controller’s instructions.

In a private therapy practice, a Data Processing Agreement can help protect you and your clients by clearly defining the role of any third-party service providers involved in handling personal data. This can include cloud-based software providers, teletherapy platforms, and data storage solutions.

Having a Data Processing Agreement in place can also provide peace of mind and a higher level of trust with your clients, as it demonstrates that you take their privacy seriously and are taking steps to protect their personal information.

Hang on, that’s a whole lot of jargon! Let me try and simplify things a little…

Does Your Private Practice Need a Data Processing Agreement?

Probably. In your private therapy practice, you are the controller of your data. Anyone who engages with your business and sees the personal identifying information of a client for any reason is classed as the processor.

Here at Pocketsite, we have created a template ready for you to customise for your business  Purchase Here

Here are some examples where a DPA is required:

  • Admin assistants
  • Associates
  • Accountant
  • Bookkeeper
  • Virtual assistants
  • Supervisor (if you are sharing personal identification information)

It’s All About Being GDPR Compliant

You need a data processing agreement to ensure you’re complying with General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR. GDPR requires data controllers to take measures to ensure the protection of any personal data they handle. If data controllers decide to outsource certain data processing activities, they must be able to demonstrate that their suppliers and sub-processors also provide sufficient guarantees to protect the data and act in a GDPR-compliant manner. You can learn more about GDPR requirements for therapists here.

One of the most important elements of a DPA is whether your processors provide sufficient guarantees for the protection of the data transferred to them. Under GDPR, if there is a data breach, even if it’s on the side of the processor, you, as a controller, might be held responsible. Therefore, it’s important to choose processors who do everything they can to minimise the risk of a data breach. They should also take sufficient measures to decrease the effect of a breach and inform you in due course.

In summary, a Data Processing Agreement can help protect your private practice, streamline operations, and enhance your clients’ trust in your services. I would strongly recommend that you consider putting one in place if you haven’t already done so.

Still confused?

Don’t worry! If you don’t know where to start in creating one, Pocketsite has created a done-for-you data processing agreement. Simply purchase the template, amend it to suit your needs, and follow the guidance notes on how to use it. You’ll soon be GDPR-compliant and ready to go!

Purchase Your Data Processing Agreement Template Here

Links worth clicking

GDPR – all you need to know in one place

GDPR – Therapist Questions Answered

Supervision Agreements

GDPR Compliance Pack for Therapists in Private Practice

GDPR, what’s changed since Brexit


Posted in

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sarah Rees

Sarah is a fully accredited Cognitive Behavioural Therapist and mental health writer delivering Modern Mental Health for you and with you in Mind. Sarah is the author of ‘The CBT Journal’ which helps you write for your wellbeing incorporating CBT techniques. For more information and to keep in touch have a look at