Counselling & Psychotherapy policies
You are taking a valuable step towards mental health healing. So here is some very important information regarding counselling and psychotherapy policies. These policies define client and the psychologists rights and responsibilities. It also serves as a contract between us if you choose to opt for psychotherapy with me. In this contract ‘you’ refers to the client, ‘I’ refers to the psychologist and ‘we’ refers to the the psychologist and the client.
I do follow the ethical codes and guidelines determined by the British Psychological Society (BPS) as I was trained to be a Counselling Psychologist in the UK. However I apply these policies keeping in mind the Indian culture I am working in. During our sessions please feel free to ask any question regarding the points mentioned here.
What is Counselling and Psychotherapy.
Counselling & Psychotherapy involves verbal and non verbal communication in treating psychological conditions and enhancing emotional well being. There are no other forms of medical treatments involved like medicines, scanning etc.
Psychotherapy is an alliance between a client and psychologist to increase understanding and bring about change. Psychotherapy can have benefits and risks. Since therapy often involves discussing unpleasant aspects of your life, you may experience uncomfortable feelings like sadness, ‘guilt, anger, frustration, loneliness and helplessness. These difficult feelings are normal and will be temporary, depending on the depth of client’s emotional difficulties and distress.
On the other hand, psychotherapy has also been shown to have many benefits. Therapy often leads to better relationships, solutions to specific problems, increased self-esteem, awareness and significant reductions in feelings of distress. Although there are no guarantees of what a client will experience, I will try to ensure that we maintain a safe and respectful environment that can increase the possibilities for you to achieve a sense of balance.
Psychotherapy is not like a visit to a medical doctor. Instead, It calls for a very active effort on the clients part. In order for therapy to be most successful, the client will have to work on things discussed in therapy, both during the sessions and at home. However sometimes shifts take place unconsciously. At times it can be emotionally intense and at other times it can be very fulfilling. Psychotherapy is an interactive process. In therapy techniques, insights and activities will be given. The client has the right to refuse, to accept it or alter it. Therapy works best if there is a good fit between the psychologist and the client(s). Often a few sessions will help the client and psychologist to determine if they can work with each other or not.
I apply an integrative psychotherapeutic model, which means I use a range of therapies. I draw from Humanistic, Cognitive and Psychodynamic modalities. I tailor these various therapeutic methods keeping in mind the individual needs of the clients. I believe therapeutic relationship is key to healing therefore I am person centred in my way of being. And this means I work in a compassionate, genuine and non judgemental manner maintaining the ethical codes of my profession.
In the initial session the psychologist and the client would discuss the therapy policies.The client can give an outline of their concerns. The psychologist will listen to you in a non judgemental manner and help the client to feel secure enough to open up.
Furthermore in the initial sessions the client and the psychologist can gain clarity in terms of why the client needs therapy. Whether it is to achieve certain goals like anger management, coping with a break up, overcoming anxiety etc, trauma or just humane support.
The therapist will then ask the client a series of questions about the clients childhood, symptoms, attachments, difficulties the client is experiencing and many more. This is to understand the client as a person and to formulate a suitable treatment plan. These questions are purely therapeutic in nature and not in a social context.
We will start with an initial four sessions period. At the end of this we will evaluate the situation and decide whether we should go for long term therapy. Alternatively a referral can be offered.
Once the client and the psychologist choose to work together for long term therapy. The client psychologist therapeutic relationship is key to healing. During the therapy sessions, the client will be encouraged to express feelings and emotions openly in an empathetic, professional and confidential environment. The psychologist will share various analysis and suggestions based on scientific research. The client will also be given certain techniques or skills to cope better.
If the client and the psychologist feel the therapy goals have been met then they can end therapy. However just like a visit at the doctors for regular physical check ups it is suggested the client comes in for periodic mental health check ups or booster sessions as well.
Therapy is an interactive process wherein the client and the psychologist work together to resolve clients issues. A psychologist will help the client to see various options. However a psychologist will not make any decisions for the client. The psychologist will ask certain questions in a manner that will help the client to find solutions. The psychologist will share certain insights which will also help the client to make better choices.
Recovery from a psychological condition is a combination of multiple factors. It depends upon whether the condition is mild or severe, medication, individuals personality, healthy environment, family support and regular therapy sessions. Therefore, therapy is one of the mediums to help in the process of recovery
Privacy and Confidentiality
Confidentiality is one of the significant aspects of a psychologists code of ethics. Interactions between the client and the therapist will be confidential. This includes any communication done in the sessions , emails and texts shared between the sessions as well. However your free as a client to discuss the therapy process in any forum or to any person you feel safe with.
Although the clients will be requested to give a phone number of a family member of friend, It will be used only incase of risk.
The client will be also asked to provide current and permanent address which will all be kept confidential unless there is any risk involved.
Any information about the client will not be shared with a third party. However, in cases of risk the psychologist will have to break confidentiality and take required safety measures such as disclose the session notes, client records and the content of risk.
Exceptions to confidentiality when risks are involved include
When the client discusses suicidal thoughts or attempts to commit suicide. When the client discusses causing harm to self or causing harm to someone or discusses being harmed by someone or shares another individual is being harmed. If there is harm being caused to a child. If there is any legal requirement such as a court order, search warrant and any other form of regulation.
The relationship between a client and psychologist is called a therapeutic relationship. Therapeutic relationship is unique. It is a balance of professional and humanistic way of being.
Although there will be an attachment formed with the psychologist, firm and clear boundaries are to be maintained. Please understand that no social interactions can take place between the client and the psychologist during the sessions, after the sessions and even after ending therapy. There can be no Dual relationship between a client and a psychologist.
Any information asked by the psychologist is only under the therapeutic context. While the psychologist will connect with the client on a humane level, she will not discuss about her personal issues with you.
Many a times it is the healthy therapeutic relationship due to which the healing process begins for many clients. A therapeutic relationship forms a healthy attachment/bond between a client and a psychologist, therefore a client and a psychologist can always maintain the therapeutic connection keeping in mind the ethical boundaries.
I cannot accept friend or contact requests from current or former clients on any social networking sites (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc). According to APA and BPS it is believed that adding clients as friends or contacts on these sites can compromise your confidentiality and our respective privacy. It may also blur the boundaries of our therapeutic relationship. If you would like to contact me then please text me before calling or email me. Please do not choose social networking sites to talk about sensitive or therapy related issues with me.
If you really feel there is a need to talk to me between the sessions then please text me in advance so that we can arrange a time to talk. Alternatively you can send me a concise mail.
Please understand that if I am on a holiday I won’t be able to talk over the phone or reply to any mail. My training as a Psychologist and Psychotherapist equips me to support a client only during the therapy sessions. I will ensure I have equipped clients at risk with enough coping skills to manage any crisis they might experience outside the sessions. However if the client is still unable to cope with any crisis or risk outside the sessions and reaches out to me, then I would have to contact the person whose name they have given to me Incase of emergency or other sources such as a psychiatrist.
The nature of my work is such that I can help you only during the time we have scheduled our appointment. I am sorry I cannot be available 24hours. So incase of crisis kindly contact your family member or close friend . If there is no one for support then please visit the emergency department at your nearest hospital and do ask for a mental health professional on call. If you are feeling suicidal and cannot manage to get an appointment with a psychiatrist or visit a hospital, then please call a crisis helpline in your country.
I request clients to text or whatsapp me only with regards to appointments and rescheduling. Please understand I cannot offer therapy or chat via whatsapp. Please refrain from discussing any information on whatsapp
I will be fully present with you during the sessions, however in order to help me keep a track of the therapy process I will be noting down some points occasionally. I will be managing case notes after the sessions, documenting whatever was discussed in the sessions.
You may contact me on the mobile number I have provided. Since I deal with sensitive issues I request clients to text me before they call me so that we both can coordinate a good time for us to talk. Alternatively you can send me a concise mail.
The duration of the sessions will be for one hour. Sessions can be scheduled at a frequency that is mutually agreed upon. The therapist and client can coordinate to have fixed slots once a week or once in two week. Once a client starts feeling better we can taper the sessions down to once a month. If there are no slots available, I will let you know in advance that we are meeting only for an assessment session and make the appropriate referral. For clients who can’t maintain a fixed slot, appointments can be offered as per availability.
In case you want to reschedule or cancel appointments please let me know 24hours in advance. Likewise, I might have to reschedule sometimes, so I’ll let you know a day in advance
Referrals will be offered in a sensitive manner in the best interest of the client.
A client will be referred to other professionals when
The therapist is not able to offer an appointment for the time or day the client wants.
The client is not able to engage in psychotherapy that I offer.
A client and psychologist after the initial sessions feel they might not be able to work with each other for any reason.
The psychologist or client or both after therapy sessions feel the client is not benefitting from therapy.
The issues the client has is outside the frame of the psychologists speciality.
If under any circumstances a client wants to discontinue after a few sessions the client may do so.
Sometimes clients find therapy overwhelming and might want to discontinue temporarily and can then get back to therapy when they are ready.
I will not be able to work with a client under the influence of drugs or mind altering substances.
According to therapeutic ethical codes if a psychologist feels a clients behaviour is inappropriate, then the psychologist can withdraw from seeing the client.
Therapy can be terminated if
1.The client is not able to engage in psychotherapy that I offer.
2. A client and psychologist after the initial sessions for any reason feel they might not be able to work with each other.
3.The client and the psychologist are not able to resolve certain issues that have come up in the therapeutic relationship.
4.The psychologist or client or both after therapy sessions feel the client is not benefitting from therapy.
5. The issues the client has is outside the frame of the psychologists speciality.
Payments are subjected to change every year and clients will be informed well in advance. Payments for psychotherapy sessions have to be made at the reception in the hospital.
I reserve the right to change these contract terms in which case I will give you good notice period and time for discussion.