As a counsellor and psychotherapist my purpose is to create a comfortable, safe and confidential space in which you can explore your issues and work towards a better life. To this end I bring as much care, attention and expertise as I can.
The below is a summary of my therapy agreement (I have a separate agreements for in person and online clients). This details the rules or boundaries within which the work takes place. Boundaries provide a safe space for both client and therapist to engage.
- Therapy takes place on a weekly basis (or as agreed upon by both of us) excluding pre-arranged holidays and illness. Session duration is 50 minutes.
- Holidays: You will be notified at least a month ahead or with as much advance warning as possible.
- The fee is payable by either cash on the day of the appointment or via banks transfer before the appointment.
- Session Cancellation: 48 hours’ notice is required or the full fee becomes payable.
- Contact between sessions (unless a life threatening emergency) should be minimal and used for the purposes of administration i.e. session bookings. In an emergency I will endeavour to return your call as soon as possible. If an emergency arises that is life-threatening or needs immediate attention you agree to contact the emergency services on 999, go to your nearest hospital A&E department or phone a crisis help line such as the Samaritans on 116 123 (for UK Residents). Non UK Residents please get the necessary support in your country via emergency services or known crisis help line.
- While the therapeutic relationship is friendly, it is a professional relationship and in order to protect its boundaries and work in an ethical way, it is considered inappropriate to engage either formally or informally through social networking sites or forums. This protects the confidentiality of the counselling relationship.
- Session ending. Therapy is generally open-ended and you can terminate therapy whenever you wish. However, what I do suggest is that when an ending has been agreed we spend at least 4 weeks working towards this. Our relationship will potentially be a significant one and an important aspect of our work together is to address the ending of the relationship.
- Therapy is a fully confidential activity. As part of my professional ethical code of practice I have regular clinical supervision where I discuss my work. Your identity is kept anonymous and confidentiality maintained. I also record session notes and these are also anonymised and kept securely for one year after you have left therapy in case you decide to return. Any other personal information e.g address, telephone number, information disclosed on the pre-therapy questionnaire is also strictly confidential and stored securely.
- Code and ethics of practice: I work within the UKCP, BACP, ACTO and EFT International’s ethical frameworks, details of which are available on their websites.
In addition to these points for online therapy:
- Online therapy is delivered either by video, voice, instant messaging and email. Video, voice and chat are delivered via Vsee, while email sessions are delivered via ProtonMail. Both platforms are securely encrypted. Video and voice sessions are never recorded and the content of instant messaging sessions, deleted.
- Only communicate through a computer that you know is safe and where confidentiality can be ensured. Be sure to fully exit all online counseling sessions and emails. It is advisable to delete your browsing history after our communication.
- It is important that the environment you choose to work in allows for your physical and emotional safety as well as your privacy. This helps to ensure our work together remains confidential.
- Working online means you don’t necessarily travel to and from your appointment and so may not have the travel time to prepare yourself before and after a session. With this in mind, it is good practice to prepare yourself for a few minutes before you start an online session so that you feel ready to start our work together. Likewise, after a session, it is a good idea to give yourself some time to readjust before you go back to your daily life.
- It is important that you are aware of what we agree to do in the event of a technology breakdown. Should either of us experience technical difficulties, we both endeavour to text straight away and try to reconnect online within 10 minutes. If after 10 minutes you or I are still unable to connect, we can re-schedule free of charge. Please note I will never intentionally end a session prematurely.
- As the client you understand that online therapy is a different experience compared with in-person therapy. These differences can include the lack of visual and audio cues and the lack of immediacy in responding.
- As the client you understand that online therapy is not appropriate if you are experiencing a crisis or having suicidal or homicidal thoughts. As stated previously, if a life-threatening crisis should occur, you agree to contact a crisis helpline, call 999 or go to a hospital A&E department, or go to appropriate services if you are overseas.