This is a summary of what you can find here explained:
- What counselling is
- Theoretical models and techniques
- Limits for counselling
- Ethical standards
- Confidentiality, privacy and note-taking
- Exceptions to privacy and confidentiality
- First meeting and number of sessions
- Length and frequency of sessions
- Fees and method of payment
- Cancellations, lateness, non-attendance policy
- Contacts outside the sessions and accidental meetings
- Ending counselling, losing touch
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Making the above listed points clear to those I work with is part of the obligations I have assumed with the professional bodies I belong to. For this reason this page articulates my commitments and responsibilities towards my clients and also their commitments and responsibilities in the context of the relationship we build together, when we start our counselling meetings.
My Practice in London
What Counselling is
“Counselling” is an interactive relationship based on trust and collaboration which provides you with a confidential space to be heard and to explore your thoughts and feelings in safety, with the aim of strengthening your capacity for self-determination, finding your personal resources and facilitating your use of them to deal with existential/emotional distress or relationship issues, achieve personal growth and generally improve quality of life.
This process involves your commitment, your honesty - both with me and yourself - and a genuine effort and desire to cooperate in order to achieve mutually agreed goals.
For my part, with the sincere desire to be involved in your path, I promise commitment, honesty and utmost respect for yourself as an individual and your emotional, physical, mental and spiritual autonomy. My role is to accompany you through the process without judgement or telling you what to do. I may on occasion give information or offer suggestions, but always with the highest regard for your individuality and never trying to pressure or coerce you into any action or belief.
I work in the field of promoting well-being, which is not to be confused with other fields. For medical or psychological diagnoses and treatments or cures, I defer to doctors, medical specialists, psychiatrists or psychologists.
While individuals generally benefit from my services, I cannot promise any cures or particular results. If at any time I feel I cannot help you, I will offer to refer you to someone who can.
Theoretical models and techniques
Core Energetics and BioGestalt are my theoretical models, which are holistic and body-oriented approaches within the wider field of humanistic therapies. If you would like to know more about this, I will be happy to give you some more information or suggest pertinent websites and texts.
All the skills I am trained in are brought to our sessions, according to your individual needs.
This can involve some simple body movements and exercises, either barefoot or with socks: with this in mind I suggest that you wear whatever you are most comfortable in to be free to move (better not skirts or tightening clothes).
Limits for counselling
You cannot attend counselling sessions whilst under the influence of alcohol or non-prescription drugs and I would need to be informed if at any time you were in this condition.
I do not generally provide counselling when there is a psychiatric problem/ diagnosis and/or when potential clients are already seeing another colleague or a psychologist. If this were the case (or became the case during our relationship), I would need to be informed and we would need to discuss the situation in order to assess it in your best interest.
If you are being treated by your doctor for emotional difficulties, it is important that you inform them about me, and vice versa, although I will not confer with them without your consent.
However, if you have any medical condition that could make it difficult/ inopportune to do any physical activity (or if I feel you might) you will need to provide a note from your doctor, giving the proper recommendation.
As a graduate of the 5-year professional training at the Core Energetics Italian Institute and the 3-year professional training at SIBiG, as well as a professional counsellor member of BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) and AssoCounseling, I am bound by their Codes of Ethics.
This means that I must work within their guidelines and I am accountable to them.
For example, I must recognise as fundamental the principles of honesty, transparency, congruence, and the respect of human rights and dignity. I must avoid working with individuals that I have or have had a personal, emotional, romantic or sexual relationship with, as well as avoid establishing with clients the types of relationships stated above in the course of the professional relationship. I also must maintain an appropriate level of professional training and keeps my expertise current.
Confidentiality, privacy and note-taking
To ensure open exploration of the concerns that have brought you to counselling, everything we discuss in our sessions together remains completely confidential and it will not be repeated outside of the sessions.
In accordance with the Codes of Ethics by which I am bound, I am required to attend regular supervision, as part of my continuing professional development. This is in order to gain support and guidance in my work and to check that I am always working ethically and competently, so as to ensure that my clients receive the best possible service.
This means that I may have to share and discuss some of the content of our sessions with a supervisor (another experienced counsellor or psychotherapist with whom I have a supervision agreement in place), always within a strictly confidential and professional framework. In this case I will only refer to you by your first name and any other distinguishing details will be altered to keep your identity anonymous.
Also and only to ensure the best possible service, I will ask you some of your personal data and I will keep notes (short summaries about what happens in session) that will be helpful to maintain the sense of direction of our work.
Adhering to the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA 2018) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR - UE 679/2016), these brief written notes and documents containing your personal/sensitive data (such as the initial intake form with your informed consent to counselling) will be safely stored in filing cabinets that will be locked whenever they are not in use or unsupervised. Nobody but I will have access to them or to the keys and no personal/sensitive details will be kept on computer or passed on to others or used for any reason other than the provision of my counselling services.
At the end of our work together my notes will be kept stored in the same way for a period of 5 years, in case you wish to return to counselling. After that time they will be destroyed by secure shredding. and no electronic records will be stored after the end of counselling.
In accordance to the GDPR, in addition to the right to access and be informed about the collection and use of your personal/sensitive data, you have the right to have them rectified if incorrect, completed if incomplete, and - where applicable - erased ("the right to be forgotten"), restricted or suppressed as well as a right to data portability and to object to data processing in certain circumstances (GDPR - individual rights).
You can exercise your rights making a request verbally or in writing to firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll be happy to comply following the GDPR rules and guidelines.
Exceptions to privacy and confidentiality
In accordance with state law, I am obliged to pass on information to the relevant authorities in cases where human safety is concerned, including the following cases:
- if you express intent to harm yourself or another person and I believe the threat is serious
- if I believe a minor or an elderly person or a protected adult is at risk of harm or of sexual, physical or other abuse
- if you share information about a proposed act of terrorism or other serious crimes
- if a court orders the release of documents or disclosure of confidential information or if I am summoned to testify
If I feel that either you or someone else is in danger or at risk of harm, I would first endeavour to discuss with you my decision to break confidentiality. Depending on the circumstances I may speak to your GP, the individual in danger, a social worker and / or the Police.
However, I cannot guarantee to previously consult with you in the event of court orders and I retain the right to break confidentiality, without prior consultation with you, should I consider that the urgency of the situation requires me to act immediately in order to safeguard the physical safety of yourself or others.
In certain cases you may ask that I share information concerning you. In these cases I require written authorization from you confirming such a request, before I can carry out your wishes.
Any concerns regarding the privacy and confidentiality policy explained above must be raised so as to resolve them in your best interest.
First meeting and number of sessions
Our first meeting will be an opportunity for us to see whether I am the right counsellor to accompany you. We will be able to discuss how I work and what your expectations are and you will have the chance to feel whether you experience a sense of connection with me and the atmosphere feels right to you.
Should you decide that you wish to engage in counselling with me, the duration of the process will depend on the type of difficulty that you are facing.
I suggest you commit to a minimum of 3 or 4 sessions before realistically evaluating the effectiveness of counselling. After this, the agreement can be verbally renewed for additional sessions, if we both agree that more sessions are necessary in order to reach your goals.
From time to time, in case of an extended process, we will review the work that we are doing, giving us both a chance to assess how the relationship is working, whether your needs are being met and, if required, make adjustments and/or establish new goals.
Length and frequency of sessions
Sessions are 50 minutes long and take place face-to-face at my private practice (unless we agreed for online distance counselling).
We will normally meet weekly, typically the same day and time each week, which we agree to be mutually convenient. This is, however, negotiable to suit specific requirements and we may also decide to change the interval of time between sessions.
If your circumstances change and the session day/time is no longer suitable, I will do my best to accommodate this and offer more convenient alternatives.
Fees and method of payment
It is my policy to offer the introductory session free of charge.
Fees for the following sessions will be agreed at the introductory session. They are to be paid in cash at the end of each session and will be invoiced once a month for the total amount paid.
This standard policy is, however, negotiable and we may possibly establish different modalities that better suit your needs.
Fees are reviewed yearly and any changes take effect on 1st May. I reserve the right to apply changes both to new contracts and those in place, giving a minimum of 2 months’ notice.
Cancellations, lateness, non-attendance
Your commitment to the counselling agreement is an essential component of the counselling process, and in order for you to get the most out of the sessions it is important that you attend regularly and on time.
However, if you need to cancel or change the time of a session and you contact me to do so with a minimum of 24 hours’ notice, there will be no charge and we will discuss rescheduling. If I am unable to take your call, it is fine to text or leave a message on the voicemail as this is checked regularly.
Cancellation of sessions with less than 24 hours’ notice, as well as failure to show for an appointment or partially attended sessions, will incur the full fee.
If you are running late for an appointment, I would like you to contact me and let me know if you still wish to meet for the remainder of our time.
However, in the event of a serious accident, emergency, or other urgent situation beyond your control, which prevents you from attending a session (in part or in full), please deal with the situation first, then notify me at your earliest convenience.
There will be some occasions when I will be unable to meet for our sessions. These might be my holidays, workshops and conferences I will attend for mandatory professional development, and any occasions of illness on my part. In these cases where I need to cancel one or more sessions, I will provide as much notice as possible and you will, of course, not be charged. I will also try, if possible, to offer you an alternative time which is mutually convenient.
Contacts outside sessions and accidental meetings
The phone number and email address I provide are available for cancellations, changes, or in instances where you need to contact me between sessions. If I am unable to take your call, please leave a message or send a text.
In general, please note that messages are monitored regularly but not constantly. Therefore, if you need to speak to someone immediately or in case of an emergency or danger, you are advised to call the appropriate emergency services, such as your doctor, an ambulance, 999 or 111, or the Samaritans 116123, etc.
I will however reply to all messages as soon as possible.
If we happen to meet elsewhere outside the session, I ask you not to feel offended if I do not greet you but rather allow you to acknowledge me, if you wish. This is solely intended to maintain your privacy with friends or acquaintances you might be with on that occasion.
Ending counselling, Losing touch
I hope you will take the fullest opportunity to use our time together to have fun in your journey, challenge your depth of relating and expand your self-expression to feel more alive, powerful, joyful and daring.
However it is important for you to know that it is you at any time and for whatever reason who has the deciding say on whether or not to continue counselling.
At some point you may have indications and signs that your process is naturally coming to an end (recovered inner balance, deeper confidence in yourself, greater capacity to make decisions and face situations when previously feeling overwhelmed, being in touch with your own resources and strengths). Alternatively, you may not have met all your goals, but you feel more confident to achieve them by yourself as your wellbeing has increased. You will normally know when you are ready to finish counselling and never there will be pressure on you to continue.
You may also feel that counselling is not helping you. It is important to bear in mind that painful emotions or feelings may arise, which may make you doubt the benefit of the process, but this may in fact be a positive development which can help to understand, learn and grow.
In any case, it is best if you show and discuss your situation and/or difficulties rather then abruptly ending counselling.
I appreciate that your life circumstances may suddenly change and you may at any point wish or be obliged to discontinue counselling. Whatever the reason, if this were the case, I would respect your decision but I would like to be told, in order to arrange one final session for closure.
If at any point I do not see you nor hear from you for more than two weeks, despite my attempts to contact you (unless a period of no contact has been previously agreed) I will assume it is your wish to terminate our agreement and I will feel at liberty to offer your time to other clients.