The Therapeutic Contract
If you are new to psychotherapy and counselling or would like a reminder of how sessions work I hope you will find this information helpful.
To ensure continuity and provide you with a regular chance to speak about what is troubling you it is best to have sessions at least once weekly. It can be difficult enough for an individual to contain their emotional troubles in consecutive weeks let alone any longer. Having sessions at least once weekly ensures that any difficult topics that are raised are able to be discussed in further detail soon after the initial discussion. Saying this, it is also important to have a holiday and this is discussed below.
Individual sessions are 50 minutes long, take place at the same time and date that are initially agreed between you and I and can continue as long as they are needed. I encourage clients to allow as long as possible to discuss their content as it can take time to build up trust between client and therapist and for the clients to be at a stage where they are fully able to connect with their emotional difficulties. The time period we see each other is always up for discussion and it is important this is an ongoing topic of discussion in sessions.
All information in sessions is kept confidential between myself and my clients. I see online clients in a private office which is not overheard by anyone else; it is important that you find a space that is private and confidential if you are considering online therapy. I will only break confidentiality if I am required to by law, for instance if a client were to disclose that they were planning on causing harm to another person including the abuse of children, had been subject to abuse as a child where the abuser is still in contact with a child or children, or if they are planning on committing a serious offence or act of terrorism. If I needed to break confidentiality this would be only after I speak with my client first and, hopefully, with their cooperation.
With regard to holidays, there is no charge when I am away and I aim to give my clients notice of my intention to take a holiday at least one month in advance. I ask my clients to do the same. If we have discussed a client's holiday, there is no charge, but if a client cancels a session within a week I would ask they pay the full fee. As discussed above, continuity and regularity is important in therapy and breaks can cause disruption to sessions and mine and my clients ability to get into the troubles that are bringing them to sessions.
If you have any questions about the above please raise them at any time.