The purpose of this agreement is to outline the various limitations and expectations of this service:
The relationship between a counsellor and client is a professional and not a social one. Contact is limited to sessions only and differs from traditional support; what I am offering you is within a professional therapeutic context. Regular attendance is vital if you are to get the best out of your sessions; please give them priority over other arrangements where possible. You will be advised of the recommended length and frequency of therapy for your needs but this depends on the information you have provided for me to make a judgment. However, during counselling deeper issues may reveal themselves and require longer therapy.
I am not able to provide 24-hour crisis counselling but if you do require immediate mental health attention, contact the Samaritans on 116 123. Or alternatively, call 999 or go to Accident and Emergency for assistance.
Counselling can improve as well as upset the equilibrium in any person or family. It may lead to changes in life perspectives and decisions and these changes could be temporarily distressing.
If at any time you feel dissatisfied with my services as a therapist, you have a right to let me know in order for me to help resolve it. The agreement is made in good faith and this is evident in my ethical commitment to my clients which is found at the end of this agreement.
If we meet unexpectedly outside of the counselling sessions the therapeutic relationship comes first, along with protection of your confidentiality. I will not initiate the greetings, unless you do so initially, in case you are accompanied by someone who you do not wish to disclose you are having counselling.
Gifts cannot be accepted, at the beginning, during or at the end of therapy. You are paying for this service.
If I believe that a referral is needed, I may be able to provide some alternatives including groups and/or professionals who may be able to assist you.
For online and telephone counselling payment is made before the session by BACS, in order to secure the booking.
Any personalised relaxation and meditation CDs are provided at a cost of £20 each.
If you cannot attend your booked appointment and you do not let me know, it will result in you being charged for the full missed session. If you need to cancel the session you must cancel at least 24 hours before the appointment. If you cancel less than 24 hours for an online or telephone session you will still be charged the full fee.
If I have to cancel the session with less than 24 hours notice I will offer you a free session.
If you are having online or telephone counselling you can initiate the call at the scheduled time from your phone, computer or device. If you having online counselling and there is a problem with the quality of the call or connection then please contact my landline phone number and we will continue the session by phone.
At the end of therapy we cannot contact one another socially for a minimum of three years in case you wish to return and resume therapy.
RECORDS AND CONFIDENTIALITY
Your records and all of our communications become part of your clinical record. I hold handwritten process notes of our session work as well as this agreement, consent and disclosure form. No one can identify you from the process notes about our sessions because your contact details are kept separate from the session process notes. These notes can be photocopied and sent to you on request. If you do hold any of these notes you must keep them confidential and safely locked away. Adult client records are shredded seven years after you have stopped receiving services.
Confidentiality is important but there are circumstances in which I may have to breach that for your own safety and the safety of others:
- You may harm yourself or someone else and I need to inform your GP with your knowledge.
- You may be at harm from someone else and I need to inform your GP with your knowledge or in an emergency the police.
- If you disclose you are money laundering.
- If you are involved in legal action/proceedings, your records may be subject to subpoena or lawful directive from a court. You will be informed if this happens.
- I am ordered by a court to disclose information. You will be informed if this happens.
- You direct me in writing to release your records.
- Or I am otherwise required by law to disclose information. You will be informed if this happens.
Electronic communications (email, texting) can be accessed by third parties without consent. They can also be accessed by family in the event of your death or incapacitation. Please be aware of this when sending electronic communications containing personal information related to your counselling or psychotherapy. If you would prefer me not to send information containing counselling content by email or text please inform me of this.
You do not have permission to post information about your therapy with me on social media platforms. I am also not allowed to post information on social media about you.
I aim to reply to emails, phone calls and texts within 24-48 hours. I cannot always respond to calls, texts and emails immediately. I do not expect you to do so either.
Online counselling and psychotherapy is currently offered on VSee, WhatsApp or Skype software. However, WhatsApp and Skype platforms may not be able to guarantee complete confidentiality even though they say they do. By signing this contract you are stating that you understand this risk.
CONSENT and AGREEMENT for COUNSELLING
By booking sessions with me you:
- Agree to receive therapeutic services provided by Martin J Handy.
- Understand that you are expected to be an active participant in this process.
- Understand the number of sessions you can expect to participate in and experience some improvement.
- Understand and agree with this document.
My Ethical Commitment to You
You need to be able to participate freely as you work with me towards your desired goals. This requires you to be able to trust me with your wellbeing and sensitive personal information. Therefore, as your counsellor, I take being trustworthy as a serious ethical commitment. I have agreed that I will:
- Put you first by:
- make you my primary concern while I am working with you
- provide an appropriate standard of service to you.
- Work to professional standards by:
- working within my competence
- keeping my skills and knowledge up to date
- collaborating with colleagues to improve the quality of what is being offered to clients
- ensuring that my wellbeing is sufficient to sustain the quality of the work
- keeping accurate and appropriate records.
- Show respect by:
- valuing you as a unique person
- protecting your confidentiality and privacy
- agreeing with you on how we will work together
- working in partnership with you.
- Build an appropriate relationship with you by:
- communicating clearly what you have a right to expect from me
- communicating any benefits, costs and commitments that you may reasonably expect
- respecting the boundaries between us and what lies outside that work
- not exploiting or abusing you
- listening out for how you experience our working together.
- Maintain integrity by:
- being honest about the work
- communicating my qualifications, experience and working methods accurately
- working ethically and with careful consideration of how we fulfil our legal obligations.
- Demonstrate accountability and candour by:
- being willing to discuss with you openly and honestly any known risks involved in the work and how best to work towards your desired outcomes by communicating any benefits, costs and commitments that you may reasonably expect
- ensuring that you are promptly informed about anything that has occurred which places you at risk of harm or causes harm in our work together, whether or not you are aware of it, and quickly taking action to limit or repair any harm as far as possible
- reviewing our work with you in supervision if the need arises
- monitoring how you experience our work together and the effects of my work with you.