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Contract

Just below, is the contract we will use in our counselling together, it will be slightly tailored if we are doing walk and talk or have agreed something slightly different, such as meeting fortnightly:

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Image by Ave Calvar

Counselling Contract


1. Session Times and Frequency

1.1 We will meet once each week at an agreed time and day for a 50-minute session.

1.2 I recommend an initial minimum of 6 sessions to allow the relationship to build. After that it is easier for you to make an informed decision about whether or not you wish to continue your counselling. If you continue beyond the first six sessions the period over which we work becomes open ended until we end by agreement.

1.3 The agreed time slot for your session will always be available to you for the duration of the contract, unless circumstances outside my control or yours make it necessary for us to review it.

1.4 If you are late for a session and I have not heard from you, I will be there for you for the duration of the session. I will not work beyond the end of the agreed session, which will end on time.

1.5 I require you to inform me with as much notice as possible if you are going be late or unable to attend a session.

 

2: Fees

2.1 We will agree a weekly fee at the start of our contract. I inevitably will occasionally need to review as my costs may change, but if I agree to work with you I aim to keep the fee constant for at least 9 months.

2.2 I will give a minimum of one month’s notice of any increase but likely more.

2.3 Payment should be paid 48 hours before each session, unless we have agreed you will pay cash at the session.

 

3: Contact outside of sessions

3.1 My telephone number and email address are for use in the case of cancellations or alterations. I will not enter into telephone or email counselling except in exceptional circumstances and by prior agreement.

3.2 My telephone number is not always manned due to the nature of the work but I will always aim to reply as soon as possible. Often email or SMS is a good option to make sure I see it.

3.3 I will reply to all messages as soon as possible. However, in my absence, should you experience an emergency please contact either the emergency services or if you are feeling suicidal, ring The Samaritans: 116 123. If you feel that this may be an issue, please discuss it with me.

3.4 I do not initiate or accept Social Networking ‘Friends Requests’ from clients, as this can compromise the confidential and therapeutic nature of the counselling relationship.

3.5 We shall not meet or have contact outside of the Counselling sessions. My usual policy is simply to say 'Hi' and leave it at that, if I was to see you outside a session - if you would prefer me to not even acknowledge you, please tell me in session, so I am aware.

3.6 Our Counselling relationship will remain strictly professional. These boundaries are important for the work we do together.

 

4: Commitment

At times Counselling can be very demanding, frustrating, and emotional – quite hard – and you may feel reluctant to attend. This can be part of the therapeutic process. I would ask you to make a firm commitment to attend regularly and keep absences to a minimum, especially when that feels difficult for you.

4.1 My Commitment to my clients

Clients need to be able to participate freely as they work with practitioners of the counselling professions towards their desired goals. This requires clients to be able to trust their practitioner with their wellbeing and sensitive personal information. Therefore, as members of BACP/NCPS I take being trustworthy as a serious ethical commitment. We have agreed that we will:

5: Confidentiality and its limits

5.1 The content of our sessions is confidential to you (the client) and to me (the counsellor),

5.2 I have regular clinical supervision with a qualified professional where I discuss my work in confidence. This is standard practice and helps me to work with you as well as I can.

5.3 On rare occasions it may be necessary to break confidentiality, but only if I or my supervisor believe you are in danger of seriously harming yourself or someone else.

5.4 In the case of a disclosure concerning acts of terrorism under the Terrorism Act confidentiality will be broken and such disclosures will be passed onto the relevant authority without delay. I am liable to civil or court procedures if the information is not disclosed.

5.5 Any necessary change to our confidentiality agreement will be made with prior consultation with you. This is in line with the BACP Code of Ethics.

5.6 I may make brief notes after each session. These will be kept in accordance with the BACP Ethical Framework and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) 2018  these are purely to help me in my work with you. They are disclosed to no one other than, and only if necessary, to my clinical supervisor. These notes are securely stored, and you cannot be identified from them.

 

6: Holidays and Cancellations

6.1 I will give you as much notice as possible of any intended breaks. I ask you to give as much notice as possible of any intended breaks.

6.2 If I am away or unable to attend you will not have to pay for the scheduled session.

6.3 When you start counselling a regular weekly commitment is established between you (the client) and me (the counsellor). This means that I cannot be available to anyone else if you miss a session without notice. In those circumstances I require you to pay the fee for your session. I ask you to give 48 hours notice of non-attendance. In those circumstances there will be no charge for the missed session.

 

7: Endings

7.1 In the normal course of events you will probably know when you are ready to finish Counselling, and we will agree together on the work we need to do to prepare for this. You may at times find Counselling very difficult, become distressed and feel the need to end. I would invite you to talk to me about these difficulties rather than suddenly end, as an opportunity to resolve important issues may be lost.

7.2 I will not suddenly or without warning terminate our contract, except in exceptional circumstances, which would become clear in the course of the work together, which we would fully discuss at that time.

 

8: Complaints Procedures, Ethics and code of conduct

8.1 I am a registered member of the BACP and NCPS work within their ethical framework.

Membership numbers to be added shortly

A copy of the ethical framework for the Counselling Professions can be found on the BACP’s website.

8.2 If you are dissatisfied with the service provided please discuss your concerns with me as a first step. I will respond constructively and professionally to your feedback and stated needs and advise you to the best of my ability.

8.3 If we are unable to come to a satisfactory conclusion to your complaint I will advise you to contact the BACP Customer Services.

They will assist with a complaints procedure. See link: http://www.bacp.co.uk/crs/complaints.php

8.4 If anything needs to change in this contract, I will of course discuss with you.

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