TERMS and CONDITIONS – please read carefully and sign below
LAST UPDATED March 12, 2019
The following terms and conditions are written with the intention of providing you with the best quality of support possible whilst maintaining clear professional boundaries, which serve the following purposes in a therapeutic relationship:
- mutual respect
- clarity of purpose
- agreement on fairness, privacy and dignity
- ensuring that we can rely upon one another
- avoidance of misunderstandings
- help in building trust and security
- help in making the best use of our time
Please bear these boundaries in mind before deciding to engage in the assessment and therapeutic process as they form part of our framework for working together. You are free to discuss them or to end our work together at any time.
Appointments (voice message on: 07845 719 728)
If you need to make, cancel or reschedule an appointment, please telephone and speak to me, leaving a voice message if I’m unable to answer (or email if you live outside the UK). This is quicker and more reliable than email or texting. Texting is fine if you’re running late for example.
Your sessions are specific times that are reserved for you each week and it is impossible for me to fill this time if you cancel a planned session at short notice. It is standard practice that:
- Sessions cancelled with less than 24hrs notice or missed without notice are charged at the anticipated fee. This is payable before your next session by bank transfer or deductable from pre-payments. Please contact me for details.
Beginning and ending each session on time is important for a variety of reasons:
- I have no waiting facilities, so arriving no more than a couple of minutes early is sensible under the circumstances. Any earlier and I may not be able to answer the door if, for example, I am with another patient or on the phone.
- Both of us need to rely upon a set amount of time in order to pace the work and to prevent unnecessary stress or distraction. Giving yourself plenty of time to get to your appointment prevents rushing and a stressful start to the session. If you are late for a session unfortunately extra time cannot usually be given as it impacts upon my other work.
- Repeated issues with time keeping, cancellations or rescheduling, or not attending without sufficient notice can sometimes indicate that a patient is acting out unexpressed feelings, particularly if this is disrupting the therapy and causing tension. It’s important that issues like this are addressed openly and resolved quickly. However, if we are unable to resolve them in open discussion it is responsible professional practice to bring our work together to an end in order to avoid wasting time, energy and effort on both sides.
- Should you wish to end therapy earlier than planned it is respectful and courteous to come along to a session and discuss this. This may allow you to clear up any misunderstandings that may be behind your decision. Abandoning therapy instead of coming to an agreed end is destructive and tends to be driven by ambivalence, avoidance or unexpressed aggression, and the feelings behind it can usefully be explored with a view to bringing about a healthy, mutually respectful close to our relationship in keeping with the goodwill that is at the core of the therapeutic endeavour. This is ultimately much more valuable to your personal growth than ending a caring relationship by abandonment.
Confidentiality is an important aspect of therapy. Anything discussed in therapy will remain confidential and I will ask your permission where I need to share details of your therapy (in very exceptional circumstances noted below) with anyone other than my clinical supervisor (a person I may consult if I need feedback on my work). If I discuss work I am doing with you in supervision it will be done in a way that avoids revealing any information that could be used to identify you.
Matters that might not be kept fully confidential may exist where:
- There is any imminent risk of someone being abused or put at risk of harm, including yourself.
- If you have a history of self-harm or suicidal behaviour I would normally organise a support plan with you in order to allow me to contact a named person if I am concerned for your safety or the safety of others. However, whilst this is a responsible and advisable step to prepare, you yourself are ultimately responsibility for your own safety and therefore it is entirely your decision whether you wish to have support provision in place in such circumstances.
Should you need further clarification on confidentiality please ask.
It is a natural part of any relationship to experience feelings towards the other person. Psychotherapy is no different. You are encouraged to voice your feelings towards me – good or bad – within the psychotherapy relationship as a way of keeping the relationship honest and truthful. This allows us to work through your experiences and helps you meet your needs in an appropriate way. In the interests of protecting both parties, psychotherapists are bound by ethical codes that strictly prohibit any form of personal relationship developing with their clients or patients beyond the professional relationship even where there is mutual caring and affection. There are no exceptions.
If you live in the same area or neighbourhood then our paths may cross from time to time. In order to protect our mutual privacy, usually I would politely acknowledge you e.g. a nod or smile, without engaging in conversation. This is merely to preserve any anonymity you may wish to have regarding the work we do, as well as preserving professional boundaries. Some patients would rather not be acknowledged at all in such circumstances, so please make me aware of any preference when we start working together.
Please ensure that any contact you make is via email or telephone, or another agreed means, and not made by coming to my home unexpectedly. This is no reflection on you, but is in order for me to maintain a healthy, sensible boundary between my work time and my private life. Thank you for your understanding.
Please limit your contact outside of our sessions to appointment-related matters, unless we have arranged between-session support or if you need an urgent appointment. Any other matters should be discussed at your next session. The logic of this is, again, to allow me to maintain a clear boundary between my work time and personal time and allows us to maintain focus.
Electronic Communications & Privacy
Communicating electronically by telephone, email, skype or chat is never entirely secure. It is important that you educate yourself on the degree of security you can expect from whatever electronic communication methods you elect to use whilst communicating with me. Because I have no control over the security of electronic methods of communication, I cannot be held responsible for any information that is hacked or stolen during electronic communications, beyond any reasonable steps I already take to prevent this as an ordinary user. Taking as many precautions as possible to protect your privacy is sensible when using electronic communications.
Your sessions will never be recorded in any way (e.g. audio*, stills or video on Skype etc) without your permission. By signing these terms and conditions you are also agreeing not to record your sessions with me without my permission. The only record I keep is in the form of my session notes, emails and assessment form. In this way mutual trust, privacy and respect are protected.
* with the exception of face-to-face sessions arranged at your own home, in which case we agree two-way audio recording for our mutual security
Fees, Payment and Refunds
For simplicity, payment for face-to-face sessions should be made in cash at each session or pre-paid in cash before sessions if part of an offer, discount or agreement. Bank transfer may also be possible in some circumstances, but I don’t accept cheques or cards. Paypal is only acceptable for pre-paid support minutes for use with Skype, telephone, chat or email support if you live too far away from my location to pay by cash. Fees for Skype etc reflect the fact that Paypal charges fees on every business transaction and international currency conversion.
- Please note that my fees are generally for 60 minute sessions and by comparison they represent 17% lower cost to you than the industry standard 50 minute session – referred to as the ‘therapeutic hour’ – normally offered by other practitioners. I do my best to keep all of my fees as low as I can possibly afford. Offers cannot usually be combined.
- Low income and Donation only sessions are by prior agreement and are reserved for people on total household incomes less than £1000/ 800 per month who are in need of support in periods of ongoing mental distress or struggle and who, for example, are unable to wait on an NHS waiting list. They are not usually available for personal development or personal growth work, i.e. work which is not available on the NHS. Fee discounts are limited in availability according to my income and any public donations available at the time. If in doubt please ask.
- Offers or discounts do not generally include assessment sessions due to the considerable additional time and effort involved in the assessment process outside the session itself.
- All pre-payments must be paid in full at least 48 hours before the first appointment time. Appointments can only be considered booked when full pre-payment is received, otherwise they may be given to another patient.
- Full refunds can be given only on full unused pre-paid 60 minute time periods, minus any discount for bulk time purchases or time-limited offers that have expired
- Odd pre-paid minutes less than 60 minutes are non-refundable but can of course be used for support using any format
- Email support is calculated on the amount of time taken to read and reply to your email. This time is subtracted from your support minutes and a balance remaining included in each email reply.
Groups, Couples, Families
Contact between group members outside of group meetings is often a natural development of group dynamics. It is helpful to all participants if you observe the following:
- Alliances between some group members to the exclusion of others can often adversely affect group dynamics in sessions whether consciously intended or not.
- Generally it is of greatest value to all if you can resist any form of collusion outside of the group and bring your honest feelings and thoughts to each session as a genuine contribution to the process. This principle applies to couples and family members and is in the interests of avoiding a destructive secondary process developing that can defeat the purpose of therapy.
- Being as honest as possible with each other and your therapist honours the goodwill in our work together and maintains trust and respect. It also gives you the best opportunity to benefit from the therapy itself.
- The therapy space is a wifi-free zone for health reasons
- Please ensure that any mobile devices are powered off during your session.
- Toilet facilities are available to use at any time
- Unfortunately there are no waiting facilities or disabled access
- Please read my Brief Guide to Making the Most of Your Sessions
Should you need to clarify any of the above terms and conditions please don’t hesistate to discuss them with me.
Please sign below to say that you have read and agree to abide by the above terms and conditions as part of our work together:
Feedback and Reviews
I strive to provide the best quality of care, help and support to you that I can. As our relationship is based on cultivating mutual trust, respect and honesty, I welcome your feedback on how you are experiencing or have experienced my work. If you are happy with what I have provided please feel free to leave a brief review by clicking any of the links below. I value your support and endorsement of my work very highly.
If you are not satisfied in any way then please allow me the opportunity to resolve any issues you might have with the help I’ve offered.