Our Counselling Contract
Why a Counselling Contract?
Contracts keep us 'safe' in the room as we undertake our collaboration together, and will help answer any queries you may have about the Counselling process
They help us set healthy boundaries together, and it allows you to fully understand what services I can and cannot provide in a transparent way
The contract will keep us both accountable for the therapeutic journey - because your voice and story have just as much value as my 'toolkit'
The Counselling Contract
I’m truly looking forward to connecting with you.
Here are a few points to note before we begin our Counselling together. If you are age 15, please have a parent or guardian read this contract with you.
Everything you share in the therapy room with me is completely confidential, and under normal circumstances, no information about you will be passed on to a third party.
However, the only exceptions to this are:
If I would be at risk of prosecution if the information about you were not passed on.
I believe that you or another person is in danger of being harmed. If this were the case, I would contact the appropriate emergency contact, or emergency, or social work services (I would always attempt to tell you before doing this).
During my clinical Supervision, which I undertake as part of my BACP registration - my Supervisor adheres to the same Ethical Standards and Confidentiality Agreements as myself.
I am a Registered Member of the BACP (British Association of Counselling
and Psychotherapy) and am bound by that organisations’ statements of ethics and codes of practice (available to view online at www.bacp.co.uk).
I take your individual boundaries very seriously and seek to work most ethically. I also take your confidentiality very seriously, and if I were to see you in public, I would allow you to make the judgement on whether you would like to engage with me in conversation.
I am currently working towards my final accreditation with the BACP.
Counselling sessions are 50 minutes in length.
If I have to cancel a session for any reason, I will aim to give you at least 24 hours notice.
At Eating Disorders Edinburgh, I operate on a 72-hour cancellation policy due to the incredibly high demand for Eating Disorders support.
If a session is cancelled 72 hours before a session, I am happy to refund you.
For cancellations made within 72 hours, I cannot offer a refund, but I can reschedule your appointment under the following stipulations;
the rescheduled appointment is made within 14 days of the initial appointment and does not land on a week where an appointment has already been made
I have an appointment to offer a rescheduled session - I am often fully booked and this may not be possible
Unfortunately, if I do not have the space to accommodate your rescheduled session within 14 days, it will be charged in full.
An appointment cannot be rescheduled more than once.
Initial Appointments cancelled at any point will not be refunded.
If you book less than your allocated sessions for the month for a successive two months (for example, you are a weekly client who only books two sessions, we will have to reduce your sessions and instead offer them to someone on the waiting list due to incredibly high demand.
Late Attendance and Missed Sessions
All scheduled sessions that are unattended without prior contact will be charged in full.
Unfortunately, if you are 15-minutes+ late for our session, it will be cancelled and charged in full.
As of Feb 1st 2023, Initial Appointments for Adults sit at £90, and ongoing sessions cost £120. For those 17 and under, Initial Appointments are £120, and continued sessions £180.
Payment for sessions must come from a U.K based account in GBP, including any payments made via Paypal.
All invoices must be paid within 48 hours of booking your sessions, or they will be reallocated. However, if this will cause you financial strain, please let us know so we can adapt this system for you.
I charge £25 for any brief letters to be drafted and sent to schools, universities, employers, GP's, insurance companies, and other professionals.
Number of Sessions and Endings
When therapy is open-ended, as opposed to limited, it is important that ending therapy is not sudden.
We will regularly review progress to help determine the duration of our work together.
However, both the client and Counsellor are at liberty to end the therapeutic relationship at any time.
Record Keeping and Data Protection
Notes and Consultation questions: I keep brief written notes on our sessions, and you are welcome to see these at any time. If you would like to view these notes, do give me at least seven days to scan your notes to share with you to ensure the confidentiality of the notes of other clients.
In my professional notes, I do not use your name, but I do use your initials.
No personal details are passed to other agencies unless in the circumstances aforementioned. These notes are kept in my private office, which is locked at all times when I am not using it, aside from when cleaning duties commence.
At the end of our work together, my notes will be stored securely for a period of two years in case you wish to return to counselling. After that time, they will be shredded and disposed of according to industry standards.
I keep our emails for up to 2 years after our last contact before deleting them if you wish to return to Counselling.
If, for whatever reason, you would like me to delete your emails, then
please just let me know. The only time this would not be possible is if I have been asked by my supervisor or any legal or emergency services to keep them temporarily.
I hold both public liability and professional indemnity insurance for my Counselling work. The insuring body is Hiscox Insurance Company Limited.
Contact Outside of Counselling Sessions
Should you wish to contact me outside of our normal
session time, please email me, and I will respond as soon as possible. I may not always respond to you on the same working day, but I endeavour to get back to you as soon as possible within working hours or when I return from annual leave. I cannot be used as an emergency contact, and you should always contact the appropriate services in an emergency.
Parents and carers, please know that the work I undertake with your adolescent is confidential to them. I cannot answer questions about their therapy unless there is a child protection issue, I fear they or someone else is in danger, or they wish me to share something with you.
I have TikTok (@ruthrmicallef) and YouTube (@ruthmicallef) pages for my business, as well as a blank Twitter page I use to interact with journalists, but I do not have any personal social media or online dating profiles.
All counsellors undertake professional supervision to support their practice and maintain high standards. Supervision helps me to think more deeply about the work you and I are doing together. In line with professional requirements and standards, I may discuss my work
with you with my supervisor. Supervision is confidential, aside from the concerns mentioned above.
Online or in-person sessions should never be recorded without written and signed consent from both parties - Counsellor and client.
If a session is recorded, it should be stored appropriately (not on a shared device or shared 'cloud' space, nor where anybody else could access it without permission. It should only be watched or listened to where it cannot be overheard and should not contain content which you could find retriggering.
In the rare event I need to record a session for accreditation purposes, this will be done only with your full consent and deleted as soon as it is no longer required.
Recordings, or parts of recordings, should never be uploaded to social media.
Counselling During Covid-19
I am now working both online and in-person; just let me know what you prefer. If you have COVID-19, or suspect you have symptoms of COVID-19, please attend your session online.
I use the HIPAA-approved secure platform 'Sessions' for all online work, and you can use the link below every session to connect with me. It may feel helpful to bookmark this link;
Some checks must be made before our first session for Online Counselling to work safely and smoothly.
That you have a safe, confidential space to talk to me from, I also encourage you to use headphones if you worry about being overheard.
Your internet bandwidth will support a clear picture of you for me to see - if your video appears too grainy or continues to cut out, we would have to rearrange our session, and the cancelled session will be charged for.
The technology you are using is charged up and unlikely to run out of battery during our session.
Ensure you secure your computer and emails against unauthorised viewing by third parties. I recommend that you only use a private computer, not a work or public one.
It's helpful to ensure you keep your anti-viral protection up-to-date to keep you as safe as possible online - I will undertake to do the same.
If my technology fails, your session will be rescheduled or refunded at your preference.
Agreeing to the Counselling Contract
By booking your Initial Appointment, you agree to the Contract for the duration of our work together.
If you have any questions or concerns before agreeing to this contract, please put them in writing to;
This contract is subject to change, but I endeavour to give you a month's notice before any changes are undertaken.
Last Updated - 29/03/23