Contract and Boundaries
Before we start counselling together, I will provide you with a copy of a counselling contract for you to review at your convenience. I like my clients to have a copy of this contract before we begin counselling to ensure that you have all the necessary information to make an informed decision and you are clear about the counselling that you are going to undertake.
I find that when the contract information is in your hands prior to our first session together; we are then able to focus on what is important to you to cover. This way we are also allowing ourselves more time to build upon a trusting counselling relationship. After our first session if you decide you would like to continue counselling then I will ask you to sign the contract.
In the contract, you will find that my work is informed by the Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW), PEI Social Work Registration Board, Nova Scotia College of Social Workers, and the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers, all three of which I am a licensed member. My practice follows the social work code of ethics which ensures that you can trust me to honour our agreement and keep confidentiality. The contract explains about me, my background and I clarify how I envision we will work together.
All my counselling work is confidential. Counsellors are ethically required to have supervision and this means that I may discuss your case with another qualified MSW social worker who lives in another province and who is providing me with mentorship. Please note that your identity will never be revealed. The only time that I may break confidentiality is if you are at serious risk of causing harm to yourself or others or when I am compelled to do so by law. If at any point during our counselling arrangement I felt that you were in need of emergency support, I may ask for your consent to contact your GP or other appropriate assistance. I seek to collaborate with you at all times and in every circumstance when possible.
Time, location and payment
I will explain how I envision the time, length of our sessions and how we are to meet virtually e.g. (Zoom, Duo, Skype, telephone). I also am clear how much I charge and when and how you can make your payments.
I keep brief written notes and you are welcome to see these at any time. These notes are kept confidentially in a locked filing cabinet. At the end of our work together my notes will be stored securely for a period of 5 years. After that time, they will be destroyed by secure shredding.
I explain my cancellation policy in the contract. You do have a right to cancel our session but by signing my contract you agree to my cancellation policy.
As a professional, I will not have any contact with you outside of our session. I will only accept contact outside of the session for practical reasons. I will not enter into email counselling without prior agreement. I do use social media but will not accept social networking requests or chat with you through this medium as I believe it will compromise our counselling relationship.
Ending of Counselling
The ending of our contract will be agreed mutually between us. However, you are entitled to end the contract at any time. If you decide not to continue with our sessions, I would appreciate if you give me 48 hours’ notice prior to any appointment. You will be invoiced for any unpaid fees.
Online Counselling Security
Please ensure that you secure your computer and emails against unauthorized viewing by third parties. It is recommended that you only use a private computer and not a work or public computer. Please ensure you keep your anti-viral protection up-to-date and I will undertake to do the same.
Technology breakdown arrangements
Should you experience a technical breakdown which prevents you from an online video session as agreed, please contact me by telephone (the number will be given to you before commencement of counselling) so that we can discuss how to rearrange our session. I also undertake to contact you by telephone should I experience a technical breakdown.
Please note: This contract information has been adapted with permission from Hazel Hill – Accredited Member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).