Terms & Conditions

PERSONAL TERMS AND CONDITIONS for initial consultations and all proceeding sessions.
 

PAYMENT FOR ABSENCES

Once you have agreed to therapy, I will reserve a weekly time slot (of 60 minutes) for you. Your therapy sessions will take place on the same day and time each week, these times will be reserved for you on an ongoing basis. 

Any cancellation not within 48 hours to your agreed reserved slot or non-attendance will be charged at the full fee.

CONFIDENTIALITY

All sessions are conditionally confidential. However, I am under legal obligation to:

• inform appropriate agencies if I perceive you are a danger to yourself or to others
• share information if required to do so under a court order or by law
• disclose information if required to do so for the prevention, detection or prosecution of a crime


FULL TERMS:  

1.0 Contract Introduction

1.1 The following is a contract between me, as your therapist, and you, for therapeutic work. It provides you with an understanding of how I work so you are fully informed. Please take some time to read through this. Please discuss any concerns you may have regarding any aspect of this therapeutic agreement. 

2.0 Assessment

2.1 At the assessment (typically four sessions in length) we will explore the issues that you sought therapy for. During this consultation period we will attempt to get a clear understanding of matters which are important to you in order for me to formulate your difficulties and find a focus for therapy. 

2.2 The assessment sessions allows you the chance to see if we can create a shared understanding of your difficulties in a manner which feels purposeful to you – you are not obliged to complete the assessment or embark on further sessions after the assessment period. As I have a duty of care, if I think that you would be better helped by seeing a therapist with a different specialty I may offer you the opportunity to be referred to another therapist.

2.3 If you have any concerns about the process of therapy then I encourage you to discuss these with me. 

3.0 Regularity of Sessions

3.1 Once you have agreed to therapy, I will reserve a weekly time slot (of 60 minutes) for you. This is so that I can set aside the same time for you each week for us to be committed to engaging and discussing areas of your life which are of concern to you. 

4.0 Cancellation Policy and Planned Breaks 

4.1 As your therapy sessions will take place on the same day and time each week, these times will be reserved for you on an ongoing basis. If you are away for a period of time and cannot attend therapy, I can only hold your space if you agree to pay for the sessions for which you are away, unless we agree an alternative session. 

4.2 Any cancellation to your agreed reserved slot or non-attendance will be charged at the full fee. This cancellation policy applies to holidays, work commitments, illness and other emergencies. Please discuss with me in session any future holidays or absences or ending of therapy. Please advise me of any foreseeable difficulties in attending; if possible I will try to accommodate your needs with an alternative slot. 

4.3 It is important to note that if you forfeit your regular therapy slot there will be no guarantee that a slot will be available upon your return. 

4.4 I require one weeks’ notice if you decide to end therapy.

Non-weekly sessions (e.g. reviewing progress, or general difficulties attending weekly sessions)

4.5 Ad hoc sessions are only typically advisable to review your progress and wellbeing after a course of therapy. It is common practice that psychological therapy occurs at the very least weekly. Due to the weekly commitment of therapy, my flexibility is limited as my diary is typically full with regular clients on a weekly basis. If you are unable to attend the same day and time every week or cannot attend weekly then please let me know from the outset. Until we are able to get a full understanding into the reason you sought therapy and what your needs are regarding days/times and commitment it will be difficult for me to provide complete assurance that I could meet your practical needs until an assessment is completed. 

4.6 Please note your fee may increase if you decide to attend non weekly depending on the agreement we make in person. 

5.0 How to contact me outside of session time

5.1 I would encourage you to discuss any concerns or problems you have in your therapy session. Nonetheless, in the circumstances of cancelling or any difficulties to attending your appointment you are also welcome to email me at info@directcounselling.com or you may call me on 07738 429632.

5.2 As I am typically in clinic I will attempt to respond to any non-risk concerns or questions within 48 hours’ unless I am on planned leave. 

6.0 Online Counselling 

6.1 In order to use this form of counselling you will need to have access to Skype.

6.2 Arrangements for sessions will be agreed in advance just as they would for face to face therapy.

6.3 At the agreed time I will contact you. 

6.4 A condition of using this medium is that at all times our counselling communications are confidential and should be treated as such and, unless we have agreed in advance, there should be no one else present: just as there wouldn’t be if we were conducting a face to face session..

6.5 Technical Issues:  
If you are unable to establish an online connection please contact me or admin. Similarly if I experience any difficulties I will attempt to contact you.

6.6 Confidentiality:  

Online sessions are bound by the same code of ethics and contractual arrangements as face to face counselling, see section 12 below. Working online is a very secure medium, however I recommend that you do not use a shared or work computer.  If this is not possible then please do consider keeping all information on a separate USB  preferably password protected. Please also consider timings of sessions so that you are not disturbed and so that others cannot listen in to our discussions. This will enable us both to feel able to talk freely. If at any time during a session you are concerned that confidentiality has become an issue then please let me know immediately and we will close down the session until you have resolved the matter and contacted me to let me know that we can proceed. 

7.0 Payment

7.1 Payment is to be made by Paypal within 24 hours after the session.

8.0 Therapist Absences

8.1 I will give you as much notice as possible of my holidays, and also of any ad hoc absences which I will endeavour to keep to a minimum. You will not be charged for my absences. 

9.0 Arrival and Late Attendance

10.0 Safety

10.1 In order to ensure that the therapeutic process can be maximised please do not arrive under the influence of alcohol or non-prescribed drugs. If I have reason to believe that this may be the case I will draw the session to a close/not commence a session. 

10.2 I recognise that the process of Therapy may, for some, generated strong emotions which we will endeavour to work through together. In rare circumstances where I have a concern that such emotions have escalated to the point where they are not, in my opinion, containable in the room, I will draw the session to a close early. 

10.3 Concerns regarding your safety/the safety of others including myself may require me to inform other agencies – please refer to section 11, Confidentiality.

10.4 I do not offer emergency support as I cannot guarantee my availability to you. If you are in danger in any way please contact emergency services (A&E), your GP or the Samaritans (116 123) and discuss this with me in our next session. 

11.0 Ending Therapy

11.1 Therapy is not a magic ‘cure’ and you will be expected to share responsibility for your progress. I encourage you to discuss how you are finding therapy. Therapists and clients hold different experiences of how therapy is proceeding. If you think therapy has lost meaning or focus, if you are not feeling any benefits, or if you are finding therapy difficult, please discuss this with me. It can be beneficial to work through these challenges.

11.2 However, if either you or I think it is time to end the therapy then a discussion should take place which would include how best to end the therapeutic relationship. If you do decide to terminate your therapy sessions I will require a minimum of one week’s notice.

11.3 If for some reason I have to discontinue sessions and you choose to be referred to another Therapist within Direct Counselling then I will provide them with brief details of our work together. I will remain responsible for your full records until such time as they require secure disposal (in accordance with the requirements of my professional body and prevailing legislation). 

12.0 Confidentiality

12.1 All sessions are conditionally confidential. However, I am under legal obligation to:

• inform appropriate agencies if I perceive you are a danger to yourself or to others
• share information if required to do so under a court order or by law
• disclose information if required to do so for the prevention, detection or prosecution of a crime

12.2 These situations happen very rarely, and normally I will inform you of the fact that I have to act in this way.

12.3 By replying “confirmed” to your initial booking confirmation email and continuing all proceeding therapy sessions, you give permission for me to hold your assessment information and any other information provided in the course of our work together. I will, of course, maintain this in accordance with the principles of the Data Protection Act, 1998 (as amended), clinical governance audit standards, requirements of my professional body and any other relevant legislation.

12.4 By replying “confirmed” to your initial booking confirmation email and continuing all proceeding therapy sessions, you are also giving permission for Direct Counselling and myself (Robin Swinburne) to hold such information as is required to service our working arrangement, this includes but is not limited to data stored in paper form and/or electronically, processing your personal data including but not limited to contact details, bank details, accident forms; processing your sensitive data, including but not limited to, data in respect of your racial or ethnic origin and your physical and mental health; and transfer your personal data and/or sensitive data outside the European Economic Area.


12.5 I am required to participate in supervision as part of my commitment to good practice and the duty of confidentiality extends to my supervisor/s. Any notes taken in supervision sessions are confidential and full names will not be used. 


13.0 Extra Work Undertaken

13.1 If you want me to write any reports or letters on your behalf, my time in preparing such reports will be charged at my hourly rate. Please let me know in advance if you are seeking a professional letter of any kind or are seeking therapy as part of a legal claim.

14.0 Contract 

14. 1 The contract is with Direct Counselling ie. me – Robin Swinburne.

15.0 Insurance

15.1 As an independent practitioner, I hold professional indemnity insurance.

16.0 Complaints

16.1 It is natural at times to experience feelings of frustration or dissatisfaction about the process of therapy; these should be discussed with me as described earlier (please refer to section 10.0). 

16.2 Should you have a complaint about my conduct which either we have been unable to resolve to your satisfaction or which you believe is so serious you wish to escalate it directly to my professional body, then details can be provided on request.