OnLine Therapy Agreement

updated March 2021

This agreement covers the main things we will need to agree on before working together either ONLINE or via TELEPHONE. Please read it and make sure you understand and are happy with these details so that you are clear about how we will work together and what to expect.

Confidentiality

All counselling sessions (whether online or via telephone) will be confidential- this is a key part of the counselling process. If I think you are at risk of harming yourself or harming others, then I may need to widen confidentiality to get you the help and support that you need, or to comply with current legislation. Wherever possible I will talk with you first if I think this might be necessary. Confidentiality only applies to the therapist: you can talk with anyone about your counselling.

No online or telephone counselling sessions are to be recorded in any way by either you or me, unless we have express, written permission to do so and both parties are happy to be recorded.

When working via telephone or online it is easier for you to be overheard, so please make sure you can be somewhere private and comfortable for your sessions. If we are using a third-party provider (such as Zoom) then you may also want to read their privacy statement to ensure you are happy with this as a secure platform. Please note that I discuss our work with a supervisor; this is for your benefit to make sure I am working ethically and is a mandatory professional requirement. Your identity will be protected during all supervision meetings, and all practitioners are bound by the same code of ethics and professional practice as me.

Counselling sessions

For online and telephone counselling sessions you will need to be in the UK: I cannot offer counselling to clients situated in different countries.

Counselling sessions will be 50 mins long, and will start when we both feel settled, ready and satisfied with the technology. The usual arrangement is to meet weekly, at a set time each week. If you are running late then please just let me know and we will start as soon as you arrive. Generally, sessions will end at the agreed ending time, even if we started late. If we lose contact during an online session, for example if the internet connect is lost, then I will phone you to continue the session by telephone.

For telephone counselling I will ring your preferred number at the start of our allotted time, and I will bear the cost of the phone call. If the call is not answered then I will continue to try and make contact for 10 minutes or so. Please let me know if you are happy for me to leave a voicemail message or not.

Please do not wear your PJs for online or telephone sessions- loungewear is fine, as is anything you’d be happy to leave the house wearing. I am also asking that, if you are a smoker, that you refrain from smoking for the session. Similarly, please do not drink alcohol or eat during sessions.

If you cannot make a session, please let me know as soon as you can and where possible an appointment will be rearranged during that week. Generally, sessions cancelled with less than 24 hours’ notice or those missed without notice will still be charged. My contact details are at the top of this agreement. I do short term (6 sessions) as well as long term and open-ended work. When you are ready to end your sessions, I recommend that the ending is planned and prepared for by us both.

GDPR

I keep short, hand-written notes on sessions we have together, and I also keep an electronic record of your name, contact details and client code, all of which is password protected. All records and any identifying information about you will be stored securely for the length of our work together and thereafter stored securely for 5 years. No details will be passed to third parties or used or advertising or marketing. You can find out more about this here.

Zoom

Online sessions are run on Zoom as it is HIPAA compliant, encrypted, free for you to use, and you don’t have to download anything. On the morning of your session I will email you a link which will have a unique meeting code and password which is just for your session. A new code will be sent each week, and these codes are not shared with anyone else. Once both parties have logged in, the meeting will be ‘locked’ so that no other people can join the zoom meeting, even if they did have the code.

Whilst I have done everything within my power to choose a safe and secure platform, Zoom is an external software provider whose policies and procedures are beyond my control. If you’d like to know more about the privacy setting on zoom, you can read about it here: https://zoom.us/gdpr. You will need internet provision that is reliable / strong enough for video
conferencing.

Contact between sessions

Contact between sessions can be done by email, text or phone. Generally, I will check messages between 9am -8pm on weekdays. If I am not available to answer straight away then I will endeavour to reply within 24 hours, if not sooner. Contact should be used to check practical information only- such as timings of sessions and cancellations etc. It is not intended to be extra support between sessions.

I have limited presence on social media and will not make contact with you via any online SM platforms. If you need to contact me then please use my email.

If we bump into each other locally or come across one another in a setting beyond our agreed counselling sessions, then I generally do not acknowledge that we know each other or work together- this is to protect your privacy. Should you wish to briefly acknowledge me then please free to do so.

In the very unlikely event that I cannot continue working (because of sudden illness, bereavement or death, for example) then my trusted colleague and supervisor, Jo Lucas, has instructions for how to make contact with you and let you know what’s happening.

BACP and ACTO

I work within the guidelines, code of ethics and professional practice standards set out by the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP), of which I am a member. If you have a complaint about my work or treatment of you, you have the right to inform the BACP. You can find out more about this at https://www.bacp.co.uk/about-therapy/we-can-help or talk to me for more information.

I am also a Level 1 Association for Counselling & Therapy Online (ACTO) therapist so you can be confident that I am trained, insured and competent to deliver online therapy.

Fees

My standard fee is £50 for a 50-minute counselling session (concessions are available). Please pay me online on the day of your session. The payment reference should be the DATE of the session you are paying for, and paying after the sessions is probably sensible, just in case there are any technical difficulties.

  • Name: A R Halls
  • Sort Code: 40-47-75
  • Account Number: 93986195

Continuing professional development

I seek to keep my knowledge and qualifications as up to date as possible and will undertake regular training and professional development to do this. I may also engage in further study to gain additional qualifications. Should I be required to write up various clinical case studies and/or vignettes, no names, geographical or identifying details will be disclosed.


If you do not wish me to write about all or any part of the clinical process in our work together please LET ME KNOW.

Anna