The Counselling Contract

This is a mutual agreement negotiated between the Counsellor and the Client prior to the commencement of counselling.  It articulates the responsibilities of the Counsellor towards the Client, and also the Client's responsibilities in the counselling relationship.  Below is a guide of a typical counselling contract, but this will vary according to the Client's needs.

Confidentiality:
This is a very important aspect of the counselling relationship.  Everything that we discuss in the counselling session is kept in the strictest confidence.  As a Member of the BACP, I am required to have regular supervision and I will need to discuss our work with my supervisor from time to time.  However, I will not disclose your name or anything that would enable you to be identified.  If you are being treated by your doctor for emotional difficulties, it is important that you inform him or her about me, and vice versa.  I will not confer with your doctor without your knowledge and permission.  If there is convincing evidence that you intend to harm yourself or others, I will need to break confidentiality by informing your doctor, or in serious cases the police, again this would only take place with your prior knowledge. 
I will keep brief notes after a session, which will be securely stored, and there is no way you would be able to be identified from the notes.  Occasionally I might want to make an audio recording of our session for the purpose of monitoring my work, but this would only occur with your prior knowledge and permission.  Again these data are securely stored and destroyed after use.

Sessions:
Last for around 50 minutes, and we will usually meet once a week, at the same time and day each week, though this is also negotiable.  The whole session time belongs to you, whether you choose to attend or not, and I will be present for the entire time of the session.  If you arrive part way through your allotted time, I will see you for the remainder of the time.  I will not offer your time to anyone else, even if you are away on holiday.  If your circumstances change and the session time is no longer suitable, I will do my best to accommodate this and offer you an alternative time.

Fees:
€40 per session for an individual and €65 per couple.

Cancellation and Holidays:
Cancellation of an appointment with less than 24 hours notice, or failure to show for an appointment, will incur the full fee.  Appointments missed because you are ill and you have given me 24 hours notice, or because you are on holiday are not charged for. 
I will be available for you with the exception of my holidays and occasional times when I might attend a training workshop or a conference.  I will give you as much notice as possible if I am unable to make a session.
In the event where I need to miss your session because of illness, I will give you as much notice as possible, and will try to offer you an alternative time.

Duration of Counselling:
This is something that we will negotiate between us.  We might agree to work together for a few weeks and then review things.  It is important for you to know that it is the Client who has the deciding say on whether or not to continue.

Endings:
Sometimes you may feel that the counselling is not helping you.  In these circumstances it is best if you can come and discuss the difficulties rather than abruptly ending the counselling.  Many of us have experienced difficult and sudden losses and if this happens in counselling, these losses do not have the opportunity to be understood and resolved.  I ask that you give one week's notice before finishing so that we have the chance to discuss your decision, but there will be no pressure on you to continue with counselling.  You will normally know when you are ready to finish counselling and we can address this issue within a session.  

If you harm me or damage my property, I will consider whether to terminate counselling.

Complaints:
If you have a complaint about my work, this should be directed to the BACP, the body responsible for issues of professional conduct.