Outlined below is the agreement that sits between us whilst we work together. Please read it carefully and do let me know if you have any questions.
What is couples counselling?
Couples counselling is a non-judgemental talking therapy; I will not give either of you advice, tell you what to do or take sides. There are no guarantees with counselling, but I hope to create a safe space where you feel able to explore the challenges you are facing in your relationship in order for things to improve.
It is particularly important to highlight that counselling is completely confidential unless there is reason for me to believe you are in immediate danger of causing serious harm either to yourself or to another person. If there is a reason for me to break confidentiality, I will make every effort to discuss this with you first but this cannot be guaranteed. The exception to this is if you disclose to me that you are involved in serious criminal activity (e.g Class A drug dealing, abuse of a child or vulnerable adult, terrorism) in which case I am obliged to break confidentiality without prior discussion.
I am a member of the National Counselling Society and follow their Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy. As a member, I am required to have clinical supervision and keep brief notes; these are completely anonymous. I do not reveal client identities in supervision.
Counselling takes place once every two weeks at an agreed time and each session is 1.5 hours long.The recommended programme of relationship counselling is a 60-minute assessment session followed by eight further 90 minute sessions, at intervals of 2 weeks. Sessions only take place when the two of you are present. When communicating with you by email, I will always copy both of you in.
Structure of sessions
The first session takes the form of a 60-minute assessment where you can both say what you feel the problems are, what you want to achieve and ask me questions about how I work, my experience in working with these issues and practical arrangements such as frequency and number of sessions etc. The second session will involve taking information about your family backgrounds, general health and lifestyle, and identifying where and how your past experiences may be impacting on your current situation. Further sessions will continue to explore the ‘past in the present’ before turning the focus on to how you would like to change this going forward and introducing practical agreed exercises to make this a reality.
Recording of sessions
Because of the intensity of couples work, I prefer to take an audio recording of sessions as an aide memoire rather than rely on note-taking during or after sessions. This allows me to be fully present for you in session. Recordings are completely confidential and are not shared with anyone else. All recordings are destroyed at the end of our work together. Please indicate below whether or not you consent to recording. Choosing to withhold permission will not jeopardise or inhibit my service to you and both parties must agree to recording going ahead:
Client 1 (name………………. ): I consent to sessions being recorded as described above; I understand that I can withdraw this consent at any time. YES/NO
Client 2 (name………………..): I consent to sessions being recorded as described above; I understand that I can withdraw this consent at any time. YES/NO
What happens if you can’t make a session?
If you are unable to attend a session please let me know in advance where possible. There is no charge for more than 24 hours’ notice, but within 24 hours the full session fee will be payable. In this instance, I will offer you a cancellation that same week if I have one available.
I will be available for you with the exception of my holidays and occasional times when I might be attending a training workshop or conference. I will give you as much notice as possible if I cannot make a session for these reasons. If I am ill, I will let you know as soon as possible and endeavour to offer you another appointment slot that week.
The fee for the first session (the assessment) is £65. Thereafter the fee per session is £85. This is payable via bank transfer 24 hours prior to the session taking place. Fees are reviewed at the start of each calendar year.
If you have a complaint about my work, this should be directed to the National Counselling Society, which is my professional membership association. This is a link to their website.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect on 25th May 2018, replacing the Data Protection Act 1998. This requires me to provide you with information on how I store your data, why and for how long.
I collect personal information in order to provide you with the best possible service (for example, name / DOB / GP / medication details and personal history). Your personal information is not shared with anyone unless I am legally obliged to do so (i.e. by the court), and my notes are stored in a locked file which only I have the key to. These are shredded once we have finished our work together.
You have certain rights in respect to the information I hold relating to you; full details can be found on the Information Commissioner’s Website (ICO) or by calling 0303 123 1113.
The entire therapeutic relationship is built on trust and openness between the two of you (the clients) and myself (the counsellor), so please ensure you’re happy with our agreement before signing and feel free to ask questions wherever necessary.
I agree to the terms set out above and will collaborate, to the best of my ability, with my counsellor.
Client 1 (name…) signature………………………Date: ………………………………
Client 2 (name…) signature………………………Date: ……………………………
I agree to work with the above client to the best of my ability, adhering to the highest ethical guidelines of the counselling profession.