Online Therapy Agreement
Before we begin working together it is important we have a working agreement so we know what is required of us. This is our Online Therapy Agreement. I ask that you please take some time to read it carefully as it will help to assist in our work together. If there is anything that you are not sure about or anything you feel I may have missed please let me know.
I will not advise you or tell you what to do but I will help you explore the areas in your life which you choose to bring to counselling. I will support you in making your own decisions and help you gain a better understanding of yourself and your situation. I will offer a non-judgemental space for you to explore your issues in your own time and at your own pace.
I offer Online Therapy for adults resident in the UK. This includes:
Webcam sessions on Microsoft Teams or Zoom
I adhere to the Ethical Framework for Good Practice provided by the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC), the British Psychological Society (BPS), the BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) and the UKCP (UK Council for Psychotherapy) all of which I am a Registered Member. Information on these organisations can be found at https://www.bacp.co.uk/, http://www.psychotherapy.org.uk/, http://www.hcpc-uk.org , and http://www.bps.org.uk
I have insurance for personal liability and professional indemnity which covers me to work with clients resident in the UK. Any claims made against me are subject to UK law. I would be happy however to discuss any issues you might have regarding my counselling practice and hopefully we can resolve these together.
Confidentiality and Keeping your Information Safe
Any therapeutic exchanges we have remain confidential and no content shall be used for any other purpose. The only time confidentiality does not apply is if I am concerned about your own or someone else’s safety, or if you express intent to break the law in which case I may need to pass some information on to relevant parties only. I would however where possible discuss this with you first.
I will discuss aspects of our work with my supervisor, as required by my professional code, to assist our work together but your identity shall remain anonymous.
Records of our work will be kept no longer than 7 years after counselling has ceased. I am registered with the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) as a controller of sensitive data and work to their standards for storing any information about you. More information can be found at: https://ico.org.uk/
I suggest if possible you use a private password protected computer and private e-mail address for our therapeutic exchanges and I will do the same.
I advise you use an encrypted e-mail account for our therapeutic e-mails such as protonmail.com
For added security I use protonmail to send my therapeutic e-mails to you.
Virus and spyware definitions are regularly updated on my computer – I please ask that you carry out similar safety precautions on your own computer.
I also recommend you use a private and quiet space in which to carry out your online therapy session which will feel safer for you to explore any difficult issues. Please do dress appropriately for our 'live webcam' sessions (as you would dress if we were meeting face-to-face).
As this will be a professional relationship I am unable to accept friend requests on social networking sites. Also, could I please ask that you refrain from sharing any content of our counselling sessions on any public networking sites.
How it works:
This is usually one therapeutic e-mail per week to start with unless we mutually agree to a longer period between e-mails. We may agree from the outset to work together for a number of sessions.
I will briefly respond to your e-mail to let you know I have received it and it would be helpful for me if you could also let me know when you have received my therapeutic response.
You may send an e-mail on any day of the week or you may wish to send it on a particular day. I ask however that you allow 72 hours (3 working days) before receiving a therapeutic reply from me. I will let you know if this is not possible.
Each therapeutic e-mail (TE) from me will be sent as a word document in an attachment so you can read it when you are ready. I will label them TE1, TE2 etc. You may send me your e-mails as an attachment or in the main body of your e-mail.
I will spend approx. one hour reading your e-mail and writing a therapeutic response – I ask you to perhaps use this as a guide as to how long you spend on an e-mail and how much to write. If there is anything I am unable to attend to in this time it may be carried over to the next session.
If I do not hear from you within 10 days of sending my response (unless we agree that e-mail transactions should be further apart) I shall send a brief prompt. If I do not hear from you again I will assume you feel that our counselling work is complete for now and that you do not wish to continue.
We agree on a set day and time to ‘meet’ on-line via Teams or Zoom. These secure platforms provides a high level of end-to-end encryption.
Online counselling sessions may be weekly or further apart depending on your requirements. They will last for a maximum of 60 minutes.
Payment can be made by bank transfer. Details will be sent to you once we have agreed to work together.
Details of fees are available on the 'New Client & Fees' page of my website.
All payment is taken prior to the session taking place.
If you cancel your arranged Webcam session with at least 48 hours before your appointment you will not be charged for your missed session. We will try to rearrange the appointment for a later date, or arrange a refund. If you cancel your appointment less than 48 hours or 'forget' to attend you will still be charged the regular fee. I am willing to show discretion in some instances however when missing your appointment cannot be helped. In such instances we can arrange an alternative time for your appointment.
If for any reason I cannot send you an e-mail within the agreed time frame such as if I have technical difficulties or I am ill, I will send you a brief email message to let you know and we can make an alternative arrangement.
Similarly, if you experience any technical difficulties or illness please get in touch as soon as possible to let me know.
If during a webcam session we lose connection I will try to call you to reconnect. If this is not possible I will phone or email you to arrange an alternative time/ day in which we can use the remaining 'unused' session time.
During our work together we will regularly evaluate how the therapy is going and if it is the most suitable form of support for you at this time.
If you feel that our online therapy relationship is not working, if you require a therapist with specific expertise, or if online work is not suitable for you then I will help you find a therapist to best suit your needs.
If I feel that I am not able to provide you with the level of support you require (such as if I feel your mental health issues are outside my area of expertise) I have the right to discontinue our work together. This would be done with your own best interests at heart and carried out as sensititively as possible. I would help you to find alternative support where possible.
If you have any complaints about my work please let me know and we can hopefully work through and resolve these together. You have the right however to inform my professional bodies by contacting the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) , the Heath & Care Professions Council (HCPC), or the British Psychological Society (BPS).
As I am not available for emergency contact I highly recommend you get in touch with your doctor or emergency services in your area if you feel particularly distressed at any time. Alternatively you can contact either the Samaritans (http://www.samaritans.org/) or Befrienders Worldwide ( http://www.befrienders.org/).