A simple contract
I think it is helpful to offer a clear sense of what we are both agreeing to when we embark on our counselling journey together. I’ve tried to keep this jargon-free and focused on being clear and open with you about what we are agreeing to. If there is anything you are not sure about or have questions about please let me know.
As a Person-Centred counsellor I am ‘client-led’ and do not offer advice but rather help you find the answers that lie within you. This may involve reflection, open observations and gentle challenge to help you see yourself more clearly, see the patterns of your thinking, feeling and behaviours – and be able to make choices about changing the things you would like to change.
Your therapy sessions remain confidential between us. I am a registered member of the BACP (British Association of Counselling & Psychotherapy) and adhere to the BACP’s Ethical Framework for Good Practice. When working with my supervisor I will ensure your identity remains anonymous. The only time I may need to break our confidentiality agreement is if I think you may be in danger of harming yourself or someone else, or if you express an intent to break the law. However, where possible, I would seek to discuss these issues with you first.
I would recommend you use a password protected computer if you are having online counselling, and a private email address. I will do the same. For extra precaution you may choose to use an encrypted email service for email counselling; I use ProtonMail.
As the relationship we enter into as counsellor and client is a professional one, I do not accept nor seek out friend requests on social networking sites. I will never share any content from our counselling work on public networking sites and would ask that you do the same.
Payment can be made by bank transfer for online counselling or, for face-to-face sessions, in cash or bank transfer. If paying by bank transfer please ensure payment clears before the session. If you are paying in cash I’m happy to receive payment immediately after the session.
If you cancel an agreed counselling session – face-to-face or online – 24 hours before the session there will be no charge for the missed session. If you cancel your appointment less than 24 hours before the session you will be charged the full session fee, unless we can find another agreed time-slot that week that works for both of us.
If I am unable to attend a session or respond to an email in a timely manner due to illness or, perhaps, technical issues, I will send you a brief text message to explain and to arrange a different session time. Similarly, if you experience any technical difficulties or illness please get in touch as soon as possible to let me know.
Ending the counselling sessions
The number of counselling sessions required is totally unique to each client. For some people their journey is quite layered and they may choose to be supported for many months and sometimes years. For others, that may have a very specific issue they want help with, it may be a number of weeks. Some clients, after working through their core challenges, chose to continue to have counselling (perhaps not every week) as a part of their overall wellbeing.
You can end the counselling sessions at any time. Ending is an important part of the process, with opportunities for further learning and I encourage clients to make it a collaborative process and one where you feel supported and ready to move on from counselling sessions.
If you feel you are in immediate crisis with your mental health, please get in touch with your doctor or emergency services in your area. Alternatively, you can contact the Samaritans online at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 08457909090. If you are resident outside the UK – Befrienders Worldwide is a very useful crisis support website which can direct you to a helpline in your country – http://www.befrienders.org/