When we start counselling, we make a verbal agreement with each other. This sets the boundaries of our work together, making sure it is a safe space.
My commitment to you
- I will keep time boundaries where possible. If I am unavoidably late, we will still work for the agreed time if possible.
- For online work, I will contact you via a video call. In the case of a technical problem before or during the session, I will ring you where possible, or otherwise send you a text message or email.
- I adhere to the BACP Ethical Framework, have appropriate indemnity insurance, and monthly clinical supervision with Lisa Anthony
- If issues arise that I consider to be outside my competence level, I will inform you and assist you to find a suitable alternative.
- I will maintain appropriate boundaries should our paths cross outside of the therapy space. A detailed policy around this is here.
- I will make sure that when we work together I am emotionally and physically well enough and working within the levels of my competence, training and capacity.
- I will come to a clear agreement with you over length of sessions, frequency of sessions and the duration of counselling.
- Generally, sessions will last one hour but a shorter or longer time can sometimes be negotiated. Sessions are usually weekly, but can be more or less frequent. We will agree between us how many sessions you would like altogether, or if you would like open-ended counselling. We can if necessary agree review dates to see how we are progressing. The length and depth of counselling is up to you.
- I will give as much notice as possible if I need to cancel one of our sessions, and to try where possible to rearrange this at your convenience.
- I will give you as much notice as possible if I need to end the counselling due to unforeseen circumstances. Generally, ending the counselling will be agreed mutually.
- At least one month’s notice will be given except in exceptional circumstances, and all efforts would be made in this situation to refer you to another suitable counsellor if requested.
- I will maintain confidentiality and protect your data. I will not disclose identifiable information about you or someone you discuss except for in my own supervision, unless I am legally obliged to do so (such as in cases of serious crime, or if my notes are subpoenaed). I will discuss with you if possible before disclosing any information.
- If you or someone else is at risk, I will explore this with you and we will mutually agree on how to proceed. I do not operate a general policy of disclosing risk without my client’s consent, as such a policy can put clients at further risk. However, in exceptional circumstances where there is severe risk of criminal harm to others, I reserve the right to breach confidentiality.
- Our work will be discussed with my supervisor in a confidential, anonymised manner that focuses on my own practice. Where there is a connection between my client and supervisor, I will take extra steps to anonymise any issues I bring to them, or if that is not possible, use an alternate supervision space.
- There are limitations to online security, however I will endeavour to keep all your data as secure as possible by using encryption software for online sessions and a secure email.
- I keep brief hand-written factual notes about our sessions. They are stored in a locked filing cabinet, separate from any identifying information. You may request to view these notes at any time, and can amend any inaccurate information within them. They exist solely for the purpose of our work together, however in rare cases where they are relevant to a court case they may be required as evidence and can be subpoenaed.
- Clinical client notes will be kept for 7 years after the client reaches the age of 18 and then destroyed.
- Any emails or texts you send me are stored on a local, password protected device, and all text/email history can be deleted at your request. Your phone number and email address will be saved to my local devices, but with only your initials attached.
- I am also registered with the Information Commissioners Office as a data controller, and will remain GDPR compliant
- I work with Gillick competent under 18s. I never share information with parents, even if parents are paying for therapy, without clients’ permission. As a general rule I do not bring parents into the therapy process.
- If a young person under 18 is at risk of abuse or serious harm, I will discuss with them the best way to help them be safe. There may be very rare occasions when I would take the decision to speak to a GP or social worker about safeguarding concerns without the child’s consent.
In return, I ask that you commit to
- Attend agreed sessions or give at least 24 hours notice of cancellation where possible. Sessions are chargeable in full if you do not attend without reasonable (usually 24 hrs) notice, but please contact me if you are ill or have an emergency and I will be open to rescheduling.
- Be ready to start on time. If you are late for a session, the session will still need to finish at the usual time.
- Conduct our online or phone session in a secure, safe, and private place. If anyone else is present, including small children, or your location is public, we will need to reschedule.
- Understand that the telephone number and email provided are for admin purposes only, unless we have agreed to phone or email counselling. I am unable to offer support between sessions unless this has been agreed.
- Assist me in maintaining appropriate boundaries should we encounter each other outside of therapy, as per my boundaries policy.
- Make any necessary payment prior to each session.
- Talk to me if you have any concerns or problems.
- If you feel there is an unresolved complaint that you were unable to resolve with me, you can contact the BACP for advice