Counselling Contract for Network Clients

Confidentiality

Network is committed to offering clients a high degree of confidentiality. In order to ensure you are allocated to a suitable counsellor, the information taken at your initial assessment will be reviewed by the Counselling Coordinator and/or the Head of Counselling. Your identity, circumstances and details of the work you and your counsellor do together will be kept confidential and your counsellor will not discuss your work together with anyone else without your written consent. There are, however, three exceptions to this:

1. All Network counsellors are required to have regular supervision of their work, either individual or in a small group. At times your counsellor may discuss aspects of your work in supervision. Care will always be taken to protect your identity and any information the supervisor or the supervision group members has about you will be treated in confidence.

2. If your counsellor became seriously concerned about your physical or mental welfare or that of another person, it may be necessary for them to advise or consult with another appropriate professional. Other than in exceptional circumstances, however, they will discuss this with you before taking any action.

3. Counsellors are legally required to report disclosure of certain serious criminal activities, such as terrorism, money laundering, and drug trafficking.

Use of material for training purposes

Occasionally, a counsellor may seek a client’s written permission to use material from their work together, for example, for a case study or for an assignment they are required to complete as part of their ongoing training and professional development. Occasionally, a counsellor might request a client’s consent to record online sessions. You are free to say “no” and this will not in any way affect the service you will be offered. You can also withdraw your permission at any time should you change your mind at a later date. If your material is used in this way care will always be taken to ensure your identity is protected and all material will be destroyed once the assessment process has been completed.

Cost of counselling

Network is a non-profit making charity which receives no government funding and is reliant upon the financial contributions of those who use our services. There is no fixed charge for the counselling we offer, but we ask clients to contribute as much as they can reasonably afford. As a guide, counselling typically costs £40 per session.

Frequency of sessions/Duration of counselling

The counselling we offer is on a regular weekly basis. Sessions are 50 minutes in length. Initially, you will be offered up to 12 sessions. However, you and your counsellor will review your work together at regular intervals and further sessions may be agreed. Other than in exceptional circumstances, counselling would not normally continue beyond 40 sessions. The total number of sessions offered would normally include sessions that you did not attend (DNA’s) and any unplanned cancellations unless unavoidable. We would only consider offering you further counselling beyond the 40 sessions limit if there has been a significant change in your personal circumstances. If you are thinking about

ending counselling please discuss with your counsellor so that you have the opportunity to do this well, as this is an important part of the process.

Cancelled Sessions

To gain the maximum benefit from your counselling sessions it is important that you are able to commit to regular weekly attendance as far as possible. If you need to cancel a session, we ask that you give your counsellor as much notice as possible and at least 24 hours’ notice as a minimum. You will be invited to make a contribution for any sessions that are missed or cancelled with less than 24 hours’ notice. If you miss two consecutive appointments without giving notice, further appointments will not be offered until you and your counsellor have had an opportunity to discuss the difficulties you are experiencing in attending regularly. Sessions that you do not attend without notice and any short notice cancellations will be counted towards your agreed number of sessions.

Contact between sessions

Should you need to make contact with your counsellor between sessions – for example, in order to rearrange a session – we ask you contact your counsellor either directly or through reception at: reception@network.org.uk. Your counsellor will agree with you the contact method which will work best for you both in the circumstances, whether email, SMS or phone. To protect the therapeutic space, we suggest counselling matters are best left in the counselling session and to restrict contact between sessions to communication about arrangements. If you need to speak to someone immediately please contact your GP, health professional or the Samaritans (08457 909090).

Counsellor qualifications

The majority of our counsellors hold a full qualification in counselling. We also have a number of trainee counsellors on placement with us who are working towards the completion of a three year (+) intensive training programme. These trainees have all been assessed for their readiness to practice and are in the final stage of their counselling training.

Record keeping

As well as keeping records of your contact details, our counsellors also keep brief confidential records of each counselling session. These records are held securely and you can ask to see them at any time. Your identity is protected by use of a code and your contact details are kept separately from your session notes. Notes will be kept for a period of six years under the terms of our insurance and then destroyed.

Recording and use of therapeutic content

Network takes great care to keep your information protected and confidential and we request you do the same in return. Most online platforms include a function to record meetings. Under normal circumstances Network does not permit clients to record counselling sessions. Please discuss with your counsellor if you would like to record a session for personal use, for the purpose of therapeutic reflection.

Network does not permit the posting online of direct information, recordings or verbatim transcripts with the counsellor. No part of any counselling exchanges should be circulated to any social or professional forums, or third parties. Please note that such action is a breach of law.

Changing to another counsellor

It is very important to Network that you are comfortable with the counselling you are receiving. If you feel it is not meeting your needs, we hope that you would feel able to raise any concerns you might have with your counsellor so that you can talk them through and hopefully resolve them to your satisfaction. Should you feel unable to continue working with your counsellor, you can also make contact with the Head of Counselling at Network to talk over your concerns and the options open to you. You are of course also free to withdraw from counselling at any time. We welcome any constructive comments you may wish to make and will always treat any complaints very seriously.

Network policy

Network will not tolerate aggression directed towards any individual whether over the phone, online or on our premises. We will not counsel you if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol and the Head of Counselling will reserve the right to terminate the counselling contract if they consider your behaviour to be inappropriate.

Ethics and Data Protection

Network Counselling is an organisational member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and our counsellors adhere to its Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions:https://www.bacp.co.uk/events-and-resources/ethics-and-standards/ethical-framework-for-the-counselling-professions/ and the BACP guidelines for online counselling and psychotherapy.

Network adheres to the Data Protection Act (1988) and GDPR (2018). Our privacy policy for clients can be viewed on our website: https://network.org.uk/privacy-policies/

Summary of key points

This information sheet outlines the terms under which Network is able to offer you counselling. It is important to recognise that in undertaking counselling with Network, you are committing yourself to the following:

· attending counselling sessions on a regular weekly basis

· giving your counsellor at least 24 hours’ notice if you are unable to attend a session

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