Counselling can be beneficial in several ways, in improving relationships with others and yourself, in exploring specific problems and reducing feelings of distress; but there are no guarantees for what you will experience. Working toward these benefits will require a willingness to engage on your part, and I ask you to do so openly and honestly in our sessions.
Part of the counselling process can be that occasionally remembering or talking/writing about unpleasant events, feelings or thoughts can result in your experiencing discomfort or strong feelings.
My online counselling practice is registered in the UK and therefore subject to UK law and legislation. My services are rendered under UK law only. If you are under 18 of age my service is not suited for you.
INITIAL INTAKE PROCEDURE
During the initial intake for online counselling, you will be sent an assessment form. The information you provide in this form is sent via a secure, encrypted connection and available only to the intended recipient, gestalt-counselling.co.uk.
If I feel I am not the right therapist for you, I will offer alternative referrals.
If we agree to proceed, it is important that you feel comfortable and safe sharing personal thoughts and feelings with me. The first couple of sessions are therefore an opportunity to explore whether online or face to face counselling is indeed for you. You may also want to clarify any issues you are still not sure of.
Since scheduling of an appointment involves the reservation of time specifically for you, a minimum of 24-hour notice is required for re-scheduling or cancelling an appointment by either SMS or email. Unless we reach a different agreement or either party has experienced a technical problem, the full fee will be charged for sessions missed without such notification. Generally, sessions will last 50 minutes. We will start and end on time. If the start of the session is delayed by more than 20min and I do not have any contact from you in those 20min the session will be considered missed and will be chargeable.
You agree to give me at least two weeks' notice of your intention to end counselling. It is important to have a closure session as this is an integral part of the therapeutic process. We will regularly review progress to help determine the duration of our work together. If at any point during our work together, you feel our work is not helping you, it is important to discuss this openly and respectfully with me in our sessions. If you still wish to end counselling, I will endeavor to provide you with names of other qualified professionals whose services you might prefer.
CONTACT BETWEEN SESSIONS
Contact between sessions will normally be limited to housekeeping issues such as cancellation or change in contact information, via mobile/SMS or via e-mail. My work hours are Mon – Fri, 8.30am to 5.30pm, during which I check my mobile, e-mails and voicemail intermittently. I will return any general messages as soon as possible (within two business days). I do not normally access and respond to phone messages or emails in the evenings, during the nighttime or during weekends and holiday periods.
IN CASE OF EMERGENCY
If you need to speak with me between sessions to alert me of an emergency, please call or text me (the number will be provided in our Counselling Agreement). Your call will be returned as soon as possible. Messages are checked daily (but never during the nighttime) and less frequently on weekends and holidays.
If an emergency arises that requires immediate attention, you may call the Samaritans on 116 123 (UK) or 116 123 (ROI) or dial the national emergency number 999 (UK). Please note that online counselling is not suitable if you suffer from an enduring mental illness or are actively suicidal.
If a life-threatening crisis should occur, you agree to contact as soon as possible
· a crisis hotline or
· your GP or
· 999 (or relevant national emergency number) or
· the nearest hospital emergency room.
In case of a technical breakdown during online counselling the affected party will try and send a SMS forthwith. If we are unable to re-connect within 10min we will re-schedule the session via SMS at no charge.
CLIENT CODE OF CONDUCT
I approach our work with professionalism and respect, likewise you agree not to attend any of our sessions under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol and you will kindly dress appropriately.
In case of online counselling, you will ensure that you attend our sessions in an appropriate confidential and safe environment, free from any distractions and interruptions.
In case of misunderstandings, we agree that should these occur, to express these openly, respectfully, and timely so as not to breach communication and jeopardize the therapeutic process. If you are unhappy with the service provided, in the first instance please let me know. If we are unable to come to a resolution, you may want to refer to the BACP Professional Conduct Team. The Professional Conduct Procedure can be found on the BACP website via the following link: http://www.bacp.co.uk/prof_conduct/making_complaint.php
FEES Current rates for counselling services are posted on my website, www.gestalt-counselling.co.uk
PAYMENTS Session payments via credit or debit card can be processed through Paypal in the case of online counselling. Face to face sessions must be paid for at the beginning of sessions.
Sessions are purchased in 50-minute increments. Therapeutic email exchanges can be purchased one at a time or as a package.