Counselling Contract

Please read and retain this information about how we agree to work which I will ask you to sign to say you have received and consent to us working together. This is to be signed prior to your session along with payment which is also made prior to your session.

How I work

The counselling I practice is sometimes called Eclectic or Integrative Counselling. I select from a range of theories and practices according to what is useful for the client. I have experience in the use of Brief Therapy (where the duration of counselling is limited to a pre-set number of sessions and we would focus on some specific issues for that time) and in longer work (where counselling lasts as long as the counsellor and client agree is appropriate, sometimes with regular reviews of how we both feel things are progressing). Counselling is offered regardless of gender, race, age, religion, disability or sexual orientation.

You have the right to make an informed decision whether to start counselling and what you want (or don’t want) to talk about. Counselling can take painful, difficult, or unexpected directions, is not without some risks, and should not be undertaken lightly. Please ask at any time if there is anything you do not understand or say so at any time if you do not want to discuss any particular issues, events, memories, relationships, either past or present. It is important that we work together in an agreed manner.

The first session

Sessions last for around fifty minutes to an hour. The first session is an opportunity for us to decide if we can work together. It will be chargeable at the standard session fee we agree. I will need to ask you some questions about yourself, what has brought you to counselling, and what you hope to get out of it. You can also ask me any questions about the nature of counselling and what you could expect. We will try to organise the timing of future sessions.

Session length and frequency

If after the first session we decide to carry on working together we would normally meet for one session per week. Occasionally session length and frequency might be varied if there is a need and it is agreed between us.

Cancelled sessions, start and finish times

Please try to arrive as close as you can to the time we are due to start. If you arrive but I’m still with another client I will not be able to let you in. If you arrive late we still finish at the scheduled time. If you need to cancel a session please call or text using my mobile number at the bottom of the website.

Cost

Fees are correct of 01.01.2022 are subject to review and may be amended subject to at least 28 days notice.

  • £65 for Counselling
  • £75 for Family therapy
  • £75 for Relationship counselling.

I offer concessionary rates for those who are retired.

How long will counselling last?

This depends on many factors. Some people feel they need to work for one or two sessions, some people for weeks, some for months and some for years. People have different needs and aims and work at different speeds.

Will you get “hooked”?

Some people can come to ‘rely’ on their counselling for a time to varying degrees and for varying reasons. If this happens it is important for us both to monitor and understand this. One of the major goals of counselling is you being able to make your own decisions and govern your own life. If I was concerned you were becoming too ‘dependent’ I would discuss carefully with you why this might be and what we might do about it. If you get concerned you are becoming too ‘dependent’ please do say so.

Does it work? What happens if it doesn’t?

Counsellors do not advise clients or tell them what to do. There is no guarantee counselling will help. It can be very or only partially successful. There is rarely a ‘perfect’ outcome. Good effects can sometimes be quick but often take longer to happen. Sometimes counselling can lead to things feeling worse before they feel better. Counselling is often hard work and might hit problems of various sorts. Occasionally someone might feel the counselling really wasn’t worth the investment in time or effort.

There are various reasons why sometimes counselling does not help as much as we’d hoped. These can become apparent early on or sometimes only later in the counselling. It’s important that we monitor together honestly and openly whether the counselling is helping as we go along. Often I will set a specific time to review this to help us monitor if the counselling is helping.

It is really important that if at any time you feel that the counselling isn’t helping, or if there is any kind of problem, that you tell me and we can talk about it. If you decide to finish counselling you are not obliged to tell me why. If I felt we needed to finish working together because the counselling really wasn’t helping or likely to help any further, I would discuss this carefully with you to allow a length of time for us to finish that I felt appropriate and try to discuss what other assistance might be available.

Supervision

Counsellors bound by the BACP Ethical Framework are required to have clinical Supervision for their work. In Supervision I talk with another experienced and qualified counsellor anonymously about what we have discussed to try to improve my understanding and help me work productively with you. Your agreement to counselling includes you agreeing to my receiving Supervision of my work with you.

Confidentiality (when I might break it)

Counsellors, like every other member of the public, have to work within the law, so if a client tells me they are going to break the law confidentiality does not exist. Legally I may be required to disclose information under the Drug Trafficking Act, The Money Laundering Act, The Prevention of Terrorism Act and The Road Traffic Accident Act. Under some other circumstances I may have to break confidentiality. These circumstances include evidence of ongoing child abuse, the risk of serious harm to another person or vulnerable adult (perhaps from violence) or if I have serious concerns for your safety or if you are actively suicidal. If I believe you to be in danger or to be actively suicidal, I may contact your G.P. or other professional(s). This would hopefully be with your agreement.

If I must break confidentiality without your agreement I will try to inform you first that I am going to do so. I will give you a written record of why I am breaking confidentiality as soon as possible. I will require you to sign a form called Your Consent for Me to Contact Your G.P. or Other Professional(s) as a condition of us working together. This form is also signed prior to your first session.

I request and very seriously encourage you to inform your G.P. that you are in counselling, particularly if you feel you are depressed or are in low mood, or if you are in any ill health or feel you are misusing substances. Even if you feel none of these things apply to you, telling your G.P. that you are in counselling can still be a good idea. Sometimes I may make your informing your G.P that you are in counselling a requirement of us starting or continuing working together and may decide this is necessary even if we have been working for some time without this having been previously the case.

Medication and medical opinions

I ask that you inform me in the first session and at any time afterwards if you are taking any medication of any kind or if your medication changes at any time during the counselling. It is advisable to make any changes to medication only after talking to your GP. Please note that I am not a doctor nor a psychiatrist and am unable to offer medical opinions or diagnoses.

Session notes and your personal details

As part of the way I work I will need to make some notes during the first session. Information about your identity and contact details is kept on a form called Your Personal Details. This is securely stored away from any notes concerning what we discuss in sessions and is linked to these only by a code number. You have a right under the Data Protection Act (1984,1998) to access information held about you on a computer and in any written records. I keep notes purely to assist my work and are not intended for any other purpose.

*Please be aware that any notes about you can be subpoenaed by a Court of Law.

After counselling has finished

Please note that we would not be able to see each other on a social basis after the counselling is finished and I cannot accept invitations to social events.

Ethical practice

I have worked with both adults and younger people in a variety of settings. As a Registered Member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy I am bound by the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy.

Concerns or complaints

If you have any concerns or complaints about me or the counselling, please tell me so that we can try to resolve these together. I would always take any complaints to my clinical supervisor for an opinion (but still retain your confidentiality). However my clinical supervisor is not my ‘manager’ and it will still be for you and I to deal with any concerns or complaints you might have between us. If we cannot resolve things this way, and you feel you want to complain formally to someone, then you should contact my professional body, The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, who will advise you further.

If you have any questions or concerns with anything outlined above please contact me before accepting to discuss so that I can answer any questions.