Matt Valentine-ChaseCounselling in Sandbach, Cheshire

T's and C's. NewHeadShotJuly21

Therapy Terms of Service

Therapy Terms for TherapyinCheshire™ (UPDATED April 2021)

At TherapyinCheshire™ we like to keep things simple and our counselling services accessible (and stress free!) so we hesitate with the length of this page. We do though have to follow laws and ethical practice, so we do hope you can understand that the following is for your peace of mind, and we hope that offering clear terms give you confidence in our practice. Thank you!

Confidentiality:

What the client says and experiences in therapy is confidential. There are some exceptional circumstances where confidentiality has to be broken, e.g. if the therapist is legally obliged to break confidentiality. In this event the therapist will make all efforts to discuss this with the client first but this might not always be possible.

The main legal reasons to break confidentiality (which means the therapist will need to inform the police, local authorities or government authorities) are as follows:

Child protection (if there is a current, former or possible future risk to a child or minor/s)
Immediate physical risk to yourself or others
Planned future violence to others or undisclosed past violence to others
Terrorism or suspected terrorist activities
Drug trafficking
Human trafficking
If the therapist's notes are subpoenaed by a Court
Safeguarding concerns (see below)

The main reasons why the therapist may need to break confidentiality in order to safeguard the client (such as informing the client's GP, ambulance service, support staff, mental health professional, and sometimes the police or local authorities) are:

Detailed and 'serious' planning to harm self or worse*
If the client is experiencing psychosis that is acute
If the client is delusional
If the client is suddenly taken ill at the appointment
If the client is in serious and immediate mental health crisis where therapy is not appropriate
If the client is being abused and is a vulnerable adult under the Care Act 2014.
If the client requests that the therapist informs the authorities for any appropriate reason.

(*This does not mean that the client cannot discuss suicidal ideation or feeling like they don't want to be here anymore. It is important to talk this through. The above applies if the therapist feels that the client is at risk, or if the client wishes the therapist to inform their GP or present themselves to the local hospital).

Confidentiality: reports and liaison with professionals:

At times the client may require the therapist to share some details of the therapeutic work done together and any progress. Examples can be: with a GP, mental health professional, consultant, occupational health department etc. The disclosure in such cases is specific, detailed and clearly informed by the client. A disclosure consent form will be required prior to any disclosure. Any disclosure or report will first be sent to the client for approval. There may be a fee for this service.

Therapy Notes:

Where the therapist takes notes * - notes of the therapy session/s are kept separate from contact and risk assessment notes. Client names are not used on the notes, are coded and cross referenced. Notes are kept electronically and sometimes on paper. Electronic notes are encrypted and stored securely. Notes are used to record progress and use as a reference between and prior to sessions. The notes are often brief and as non-descriptive as possible.

Depending on the insurance provider, therapy notes have to be stored for a minimum period, such as five or sometimes ten years. With new GDPR legislation you have the right to have personal information removed. To do so you will need to email the person responsible for GDPR who is Matt Valentine-Chase.

Contact sheets and risk assessments:

The therapist will send the new client a contact form and risk assessment by confidential, GDPR compliant email. These will be required to be returned completed. These will be stored securely electronically.

Online booking:

All bookings made online are via 10to8 online booking system. To book via this method (on the website) the client will be required to provide a telephone number and email. The client will be sent confirmations, reminders and updates by: text and email. If the client requires full discretion - this method of booking is not advised due to system limitations. If the client does not want text or email reminders - please book directly by calling 07716232865. NB when booking online the reference on your statement will be: TICConsultancy or Matt Valentine-Chase, depending on your payment method. Your session must be paid for in advance upon booking or no later than 72 hours prior to your appointment. If payment is not received by 72 hours prior to your appointment, your appointment will automatically be cancelled. You are welcome to rebook and pay in advance.

General booking:

To book without using the online booking system it is often easier to text or email. Your therapist will arrange a mutually convenient time and book your appointment for you. You will then be invoiced for the session or session package fee. Payment can be made by BAC, PayPal or crypto. NB when paying by BAC the reference on your statement will be: Matt Valentine-Chase. Online booking terms apply regarding payment on booking as a requirement and no less than 72 hours prior to your appointment.

Packages:

Three, six, nine or twelve session packages are available. The fee is required upon booking to secure the discount. Please note that if the client decides to stop, delay or interrupt therapy, no refund for the remaining package is given. You can use sessions from your purchased package at any time you choose and there is no time limit for clients who attend. There is an exception to the no time limit for packages – this is where the client does not attend and does not notify the therapist. In this case see the final paragraph below - ‘sessions’.

Sessions:

The time, duration and place of sessions will be pre-arranged between the client and the therapist. The client and therapist agree to work together in a therapeutic way. There may be occasions when therapy would not be appropriate. If at all possible, your therapist will discuss this with you before either refusing therapy (e.g. for safety reasons) and/or suggesting a rescheduling.
The client can book single or double sessions (one or two hours) whether booked individually or as part of a package. The fee is per hour in both cases.

Therapeutic contact is only appropriate during sessions unless there is an emergency. The therapist cannot guarantee availability under these circumstances and the client will be made aware of other, more appropriate emergency services such as mental health crisis line and visiting accident and emergency for mental health crises out of hours.
For online sessions – your therapist will wait for fifteen minutes from your scheduled appointment time. If the client does not connect/call within that time, it will be assumed as a missed appointment. The 48 hour cancellation policy (see below) applies and no refund will be issued. If booked as part of a package, the full session time booked will be deducted from the package total and no refund nor transfer will be given.

Open-ended therapy:

Whether the client books weekly, fortnightly, monthly or purchases the a package - Matt does not 'close off' client sessions. Clients can access therapy at any point: for ad hoc 'check-in' appointments, longer courses or as few or many sessions as is required. If six months or more have passed since the last session, the client will be asked to update the contact and assessment forms but can continue with therapy. The only exception to this open-ended accessibility is if the client is becoming dependent on the therapy or therapist: this will be addressed with sensitivity. NB If the client had previously purchased a package and not attended – the continuation of therapy is excluded from this open-ended policy.

Cancellations:

If the therapist needs to cancel or delay a session, the client will be informed as soon as possible. In the event the client needs to cancel a session, for face-to-face, online and telephone appointments 48 hours notice is required. If less than 48 hours notice is given, the client will be charged the full session fee. In the event of a ‘no show’ and the client will not receive a refund if they have paid in advance, if a deposit is paid, no refund will be given.

If the client does not attend a session (‘no show’) and does not contact the therapist, the therapist will contact the client, usually by email but also by text or call, to establish if the client wishes to continue. If the client does not respond then the therapist will assume their work together has ended.

Contraindications to therapy:

The client agrees to inform the therapist of any treatments they might be receiving such as medication or interventions from a GP, mental health professional, other therapist etc. It is unlikely that the therapist will be able to offer you therapy if you (the client) are already in a therapeutic relationship elsewhere. This would depend though on the therapy.

The client agrees and understands that therapy is not a replacement for medical, psychological, psychiatric, religious, financial, legal or social qualified advice. It is the client's responsibility to seek the aforementioned.

The client agrees to complete the confidential contact form and risk assessment form (sent by confidential email that is GDPR compliant) and return in a timely manner before therapy commences. The client agrees that the therapist's decision is final when assessing appropriateness for therapy. If the therapist decides therapy is not appropriate, and the client has already paid a fee, and no therapy has commenced, the therapist agrees to refund 98% of the fee paid, minus 2% administration fee (this it to cover card payment charges made to the therapist). 100% may be returned, entirely at the therapist's discretion.

The client and the therapist agree to inform each other of any changes that may affect their work together and either might want to review the therapy terms at anytime.

GDPR and Privacy:

Please also see the Privacy Notice on this website for GDPR compliance, that forms part of this Therapy Terms of Service.

Thank you.

*Notes are mainly used for the therapist’s convenience of recalling previous sessions. This is often not needed and as such notes are not always taken. In some cases, regarding particularly sensitive data/experiences of the client, notes are not the best option. TherapyinCheshire™ therefore reserves the right to not take, nor store sensitive information in the best interests and safety of the client.


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