This document acknowledges the complex world of digital media and tries its best to address issues that may impact the therapeutic relationship.
This document is intended for all my clients and their Parents (if under 18 or Parents paying the fees for clients over 18) and my Supervisees.
My Counsellor Training Work
It is important for you to be aware that a substantial part of my working life outside of my Private Practice is in the public domain as it relates to my training organisation.
I hold my duty of care and confidentiality to my clients and supervisees as sacrosanct and consider my training organisation to be related to, but completely separate from my clinical work.
The nature of an online presence can blur interpersonal boundaries, so it is important to be as clear as possible about how boundaries may be challenged when, as a general rule, I like to keep my clinical work within my consultation room as much as possible. However, the nature of the digital world can sometimes stretch these boundaries, so I offer the best clarity I can below.
I am not currently using an e-mail encryption programme, so any emails we send to each other may be vulnerable to viruses or human error. For this reason, it is best to be thoughtful about what you include in emails to me and which email address you choose to use with me.
Often, it is best to rely on email only for non-confidential communications like setting up appointment times and things like that.
In an effort to keep confidential and psychological material “in the room” it is best avoided in emails unless we discuss it beforehand. However, if you choose to communicate with me by email, be aware that all emails are retained in the logs of Internet Providers. Furthermore they can be vulnerable to viruses and unintended forwarding or replication. If you are concerned about the confidentiality of your emails, you may wish to contact me by telephone instead. I check emails daily, during working hours and not at weekends. I endeavour to respond to all emails within 24 hours when I am working. When not working (all dates will be communicated to you) you will receive an automated reply. Emails should never be used in the event of an emergency. In this case you should contact emergency services.
You may feel free to contact me by text message to alert me if you are running late for a session or for similar reasons. However, because of the lack of context of text messages, it is generally not the best method for communicating with me about more important matters, so please do call me and leave a message. As a private practitioner I am unable to offer an emergency service, even by phone.
Should you experience an emergency please contact either the emergency services or if you are feeling suicidal please go to A & E and/or call The Samaritans on 116 123. If you feel this might be an issue please discuss it with me.
I maintain a public Facebook Page and Twitter account which are solely for the use of Counsellors and for promoting my Training organisation and as such all friendship requests are declined from current or former clients and their parents. I acknowledge that there can be some overlap across social networks and that this sometimes comes to light on Facebook. If this were the case, it would be something we would need to discuss within our sessions. It is also not appropriate to add current or former clients or their parents as “connections” on Linked-In.
It is possible that you will wish to Google me before you contact me. While I acknowledge that Googling others has become an accepted aspect of daily life, I wish to avoid encountering information about you that does not come directly from you. Therefore I do not Google clients.
It is of course your right to Google me but if in your search any questions are raised, I would request that you raise them with me at the first opportunity.
The word is changing fast and this is the second version of my Digital Policy. My responses to our rapidly changing digital worlds will, of course, constantly develop and I will update this document as necessary.
6th October 2019