Terms of Service
1. Fees and payment
Fees are payable in advance of each session, via bank transfer or PayPal; alternatively, they can be paid at the start of each session via cash or cheque.
I reserve the right to suspend the service should payment fall into arrears.
2. Terminating the service
I offer both short and long-term therapy and there are no minimum/maximum number of sessions contracted. Clients may end the therapeutic work whenever they choose - whilst a notice of intent to terminate is not required, it is encouraged.
I reserve the right to suspend or end our work if you:
default on your payment of session fees
fail to attend two consecutive sessions without prior arrangement
3. Late cancellations and "no shows"
Any session cancelled without giving at least 24 hours’ notice will be chargeable at full cost. Missed sessions where no notice is given are also charged at full cost.
If I need to cancel a session for any reason, I will give you as much notice as possible and offer an alternative session.
I conduct all counselling work (including remote sessions) from my private practice office – this is a secure, confidential space, which is not overlooked and not shared with anyone else. I will not be interrupted during our sessions except in extreme circumstances, such as a medical emergency or a fire.
All counselling sessions are confidential. However, confidentiality does have limitations:
In line with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions, if I believe that you are likely to harm yourself or another seriously, I may have to break confidentiality. I will always make efforts to discuss this with you before taking any action, except in the most extreme cases.
If you tell me that you have committed or intend to commit a serious criminal offence, such as terrorism or drug trafficking, I am legally obligated to inform the appropriate authorities.
Should I be summoned by a court of law, I may be required to answer questions about you as a client I am working with.
Should anything happen to me, I have appointed a colleague as an Executor. They would have access to your contact details and would be under instruction to appropriately dispose of any confidential information.
All BACP registered counsellors are required to monitor their practice through regular supervision. This is a formal arrangement where I discuss my work anonymously with someone who is experienced in counselling and supervision. No identifying information is disclosed in supervision, except in exceptional circumstances.
Confidentiality can be explained in more detail at any point.
I keep electronic records and paper files in line with the Data Protection Act (2018; the UK’s implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR). I am registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
I keep brief, factual notes to document the therapeutic process – these contain no identifiable information. All records are stored securely and retained for a maximum of seven years after we finish our work together. My full Privacy Notice is available here.
5. Complaints and feedback
If you wish to make a complaint about any aspect of the service, please speak to me in the first instance.
If you do not feel this is appropriate, you can contact the BACP professional complaints department.
I welcome feedback and testimonials from both current and former clients.
Subject to current legislation and guidance
It is agreed that face-to-face work may continue where the following statements are met:
It would be detrimental to the progress of therapy were the sessions to be conducted in a format other than face-to-face
It is within the law to meet and in so doing, we would not be in breach of official guidance at the time of the session (including, but not limited to, isolation requirements)
The session is conducted outdoors or in a space that allows for effective social distancing in accordance with official guidelines
Neither party has been advised to shield on medical grounds
It is agreed that should any of the following apply, the session will not be held face-to-face, and that therapeutic work will be postponed or an alternative found:
Either party is displaying/experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, including a high temperature; a new and persistent cough; a loss of taste and/or smell
Both parties will avoid physical contact (such as shaking hands)
Both parties will endeavour to minimise exposure to COVID-19 between sessions (i.e. follow all official social distancing & mitigation guidance)
If either part is knowingly exposed to someone with COVID-19, they will inform the other
If a resident of either party's home tests positive for COVID-19, they will inform the other
In the interest of safety, I ask that clients make cashless payment where possible (by bank transfer or PayPal).
The following clause has been added to the existing confidentiality agreement:
If a client tests positive for COVID-19, I may be required to notify local health authorities that they have met with me. If this is the case, I will only provide the minimum information necessary for the Track & Trace data collection and will not go into any detail about the reason(s) for our sessions. In attending face-to-face sessions, clients are agreeing that I may do so without an additional signed release.
Social Media Policy
Like many people, I have profiles on social media - some of these are public & professional, others are personal & private. Please read this section to understand how I conduct myself on social media.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
My personal profiles on social media are restricted view (i.e. only friends can view my content).
I do not accept friend requests to my personal (private/protected) profiles on social media from current or former clients. I believe that adding clients as friends or contacts on these sites can compromise our respective privacy. It may also blur the boundaries of our therapeutic relationship.
I will not respond to private messages sent to my personal profiles. If you wish to contact me, I ask that you do this via this website, or via my business email/phone.
I have professional/public pages on several social media platforms. I use these to promote my business, as well as to share articles and content related to mental health, psychology and well-being. You are welcome to view these pages, read and share the articles posted, and follow me if you wish. I do not expect clients to follow my pages, but if you use a recognisable name and I happen to notice you have followed me, we may briefly discuss the potential impact of this in our therapeutic work together.
I will never compromise current or former client confidentiality by identifying individuals who follow my pages/profiles, nor will I solicit client testimonials. Any interactions you make with my pages/profiles you do of your own free will.
My primary concern is client privacy - if you wish to follow me but are concerned for your privacy, consider using RSS feeds or an anonymised profile to follow me, to eliminate your having a public link with me and my content. You are encouraged to use your discretion.
Please note that I will not follow you back - I do not follow any current or former clients on any social media platform. I believe that casual viewing of clients' online content outside of the therapeutic space can create confusion or a blurring of boundaries, regarding whether this is being done as part our work together, or for my personal curiosity. Viewing your online activities without your consent and an explicit arrangement towards a specific purpose could have potentially negative impacts on our working relationship.
Please do not use messaging on social network sites to contact me, as I cannot guarantee security and I may not respond in a timely fashion. I ask that you don't use "wall posting" or @replies to engage with me if we have already established a therapeutic relationship. Engaging in this way may compromise our confidentiality.
If you need to contact me between sessions, the best way to do this is via my business email or phone.
Use of search engines
I don't search for current or former clients on any search engine or social media platform. As part of my client intake procedure, I always ask for emergency contact information, so I have no reason to ever search for a client using search engines or social media.
Business review sites
You may find my practice listed on sites such as Google. These sites often invite people to leave a service review for business. Please note, this is not a personal request from me for a testimonial, rating or endorsement.
You have a right to express yourself on any site as you wish, and if you want to review my practice, you are welcome to do so. However, please be aware that these reviews are unlikely to be anonymous - I urge you to take your own privacy as seriously as I do. In the interests of confidentiality, I cannot respond to any reviews, whether they are positive or negative. Please also be aware that if you use this as a way to communicate with me your feelings about our work together, I may never see it.
If clients are unhappy with any aspect of our work together, I hope that they feel able to discuss this with me as part of the therapeutic process - this can be an important part of therapy, even if we ultimately agree to part ways. If you feel I have done something harmful or unethical and do not feel comfortable discussing this with me, you can contact the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy.
If you use location-based services on your mobile phone, please be aware of related potential privacy issues. I do not have my practice as a "check-in" location on sites such as Foursquare. However, if you have GPS tracking enabled on your device, it is possible that others may surmise that you are a therapy client due to regular check-ins at my office. Please be aware of this risk if you are purposefully "checking in" or if you have a passive location-based service function enabled on your phone.