Counselling is a space for clients to express themselves either by talking or writing, to be heard and feel understood with the goal of changing the way they feel, behave, see or think about things or themselves.
This involves a willingness from the Client to share their thoughts, feelings and fears with the Therapist.
In order to do this safely both Therapist and Client enter into a psychological contract. This aims to provide a clear understanding of the limits of confidentiality and boundaries for both parties to work safely within.
Where another party is funding the therapy the client agrees to basic updates being provided to the party funding.
This agreement is made between Counsellor Gilly Chapell & Client....................................
Who agree to work together under the practice of counselling and understand the limits of confidentiality where there is a risk of harm to self or others. The client understands that the only data held is that which is provided for appointment making purposes only.
Engaging with sessions is taken as agreement to the terms stated below.
Sessions charged as per website & cancelled sessions require 48 hours notice.
Some clients are aware of what is going on and want to make changes. This is not the case for everyone.
Others might just feel the increased pressure building, this can happen with any kind of unrest or trauma (small or large). This can lead to feeling almost helpless, with emotions overflowing; maybe outbursts of frustration or anger, maybe flooding of overwhelm becoming stronger and more frequent so much so that they cause an anxiety.
Whilst at the other end of the spectrum others are forced into therapy when one day things go to far and intervention is the only option left.
There is no right or wrong time to start therapy. But there may become a point when the risk of an outburst or overwhelm might threaten the status quo, our job, our sense of sanity or the relationships we care about and love, so much, that we make the step into therapy.
Where you wish to start, your therapist will start where you want to start and travel as far as you wish to go, on this journey.
I think of the therapeutic journey as similar to a road trip. Even without travel anxiety, if it is a long trip, you might pack a drink and a few essentials, a coat, spade if it is snowing, a snack.
In counselling the therapist will make sure we have the essentials to keep you safe enough for the journey, especially watching out for any PTSD triggers.
We then set the sat nav - your destiny and press go. As you may have found with most electronic routing apps, you can come off at the wrong junction, take a back road or the main road, it won't matter. The google maps will keep you on track for the end goal. Therapy is like that too. Your therapist is trained to pick up the themes of your work regardless of if you choose to bring past, present or future topics.
One thing I would like to reassure you is that I will not ask you to talk about any past trauma. Healing does not need to involve retraumatising you. In fact any good therapist will know that it is not necessary to go into details about your past. It is ok & sometimes helpful to give your therapist bullet point headings about your past. But this does not mean you need to spend lots of time on upsetting subjects.
Clients present with all sorts of symptoms for example PTSD, depression, irritability, loss of interest, numbing, decreased concentration, insomnia, emotional overwhelm, hopelessness, shame and worthlessness, loss of memories, mistrust, stress, anxiety, panic attacks, inability to tolerate uncertainty, low self confidence, substance abuse, disordered eating, self destructive behaviours or indecision. For the client suck in the midst of symptoms it can often feel difficult to work out where these symptoms have come from.
Firstly, it is the job of your therapist to listen to what is going on for you currently. Your therapist will try to imagine what it is like to wear your shoes just now.
From there you both will work out what the goal of therapy might be.
Everything else is the job of your therapist. So if there is a big 'T' or small 't' trauma lurking in the background which requires a bit of help to settle, your therapist will help you identify it and help you work with it so it doesn't feel so distressing.
Our work is bound by the ethics and principals laid down by my membership and registration of the British Association of Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP).
Your privacy is really important to me. Your contact details will only ever be used for appointments and sending agreed resources. Arriving no more than a few minutes before your appointment will reduce the likelihood of clients crossing paths on my drive or you meeting anyone other than your Counsellor. To protect your therapeutic journey and privacy social media connections are appropriately limited.
The work that we do together is private; however there are some limits to the degree of confidentiality that counselling can offer any client. These are explained as follows:
All BACP registered Counsellors have regular Supervision. What this means to you is the material discussed during session is taken in confidence to a qualified supervisor whilst keeping your identity private. This is to ensure your best interests are always at the heart of our work together. I participate in one-to-one supervision and peer to peer supervision, along side continuous professional development (work related learning).
Brief notes are kept about the material shared in session, separate from your identity and comply with the new general data protection law. Counselling notes could be requested for submission by a court of law.
Some training requires the use of themed material for case studies, this would never compromise the identify of clients.
Often by the time clients come to see me the brain has already worked out that by thinking dangerous thoughts there is a release of chemicals which make the client feel better.
Often when clients come to see me they are embarrassed to share they are having thoughts about suicide.
My approach is to explain the chemical reactions which take place when we have dangerous thoughts. Often when clients understand this it makes perfect sense and also removes the shame often associated with thoughts of self harm and suicide.
However it is important to point out I have a duty if there is a risk of serious harm to you or others to manage and reduce that risk. Often suicide or violence is disclosed in sessions which presents a conflict between keeping our work private and making a disclosure which will reduce the risk of harm.
The ethical approach is to discuss any conflict in advance or as soon as possible after the conflict becomes apparent. By speaking further it can help to clarify what was said and therefore the risk that was heard. It also may present you with choices as to what support you would prefer. Clients are usually relieved to discover self harm and suicidal thoughts are the bodies way of creating soothing through the cortisol released after dangerous behaviour.
The following is important to understand :
I don't hold client's names and addresses.
So if I receive a message indicating a plausible risk of harm the only option I have is to advise the police and request a well being check based on the limited information I hold.
The length of therapy is up to you. Sessions are usually 50 minutes long, (longer if needed) and includes 5 minutes for housekeeping. Sessions are scheduled weekly at a regular time. Once a time is agreed it is your time regardless of whether you choose to attend. Cancellation of our time requires at least 48 hours notice to be non chargeable. The cancellation policy can be applied to any single missed session up to a maximum of 3 missed sessions in any 6 months.
In cases of longer term consecutive absence missed sessions these will attract a holding fee to secure the regular slot.
Payment prior to forth coming booked sessions secures that session.
When attending an appointment you are required not to be under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol.
A condition of counselling is that you do not cause harm, become violent or threatening during sessions.
Regular attendance is best and I will make every attempt to ensure this continuity is maintained for you with the exception of circumstances outside of our control which may dictate a review of this promise.
Whilst I always appreciate clients recommending friends I would never acknowledge to either party, contact, attendance or any material disclosed.
In the case of an emergency which impacts our arrangements, a trusted colleague Justin Havens or Deborah Donahoe would take my diary & phone contacts (no client notes) and make contact if I was ever unable to.
9.30am to 2.30pm,
Monday to Thursday
delivering face to face sessions.
It is highly likely that when you enquiry I will be either in session with a client or not in the office.
I will reply to clients when I can give their message the time and attention it requires.
This means there may be gaps between messages.
What to expect:
If you would like me to book you an initial 1 hour session I will need to know the days and times which best suit you.
So you will need to choose between:
Monday to Thursday
9.30am, 10.45am, 12.15pm or 1.30pm
If you request a zoom video call, you will be required to send the first invitation for the initial enquiry.
If you would like me to book you a free initial 20min session it is unlikely this will take place during office hours. So you will need to let me know what times between 4.30pm and 6pm you are available to speak on the phone.
Once a time has been agreed I will write to you and I will tell you I have booked this time or it is confirmed.
In that message I will confirm you can call me. I will never call you, because I can not know that your circumstances have not changed since you confirmed to me. You may not have told your friends or family that you were seeking therapy so it would not be appropriate for me to call you and expose you in this way. In the same way I will not be in touch between sessions without good reason or arrangement to end information.
Therefore I will be available at the time we have confirmed for you to call me.
If we both have not agreed to the time,
If you have not received a confirmation message from me,
the call is not booked and will not be expected.
What happens if:
If you choose to call me, it is likely I will be with other people and I will excuse myself before talking to you about anything sensitive.
If you choose to message me, it is likely I will be doing life and I will set aside time to give your message the time and attention it deserves.
I do not carry my work phone around with me because your privacy is important to me and I would not wish to loose my phone.
So if I have not confirmed a call with you before I leave the office at 2.30pm it is likely the message will be picked up the following day.
Occasionally life gets in the way of a planned call.
If you call and I can not get to the phone I will call you straight back.
Occasionally someone will call at the exact same time as a planned call and I will give my apologies and excuse myself to prioritise you.
Occasionally someone will knock at the door just before you are due to call and I will give my apologise and excuse myself to prioritise you.
Sometimes life just gets in the way and there is no avoiding it.
If this happens, just like it does for you in life I will not be available and I will contact you at the earliest opportunity to rearrange.
This rarely happens but therapists are not immune to life's unexpected interruptions and I really appreciate your patience and understanding if this happens. It will be as upsetting for me as it will be for you, if I ever miss planned time with you.
Sometimes what we plan to happen and what actually happens is slightly different. This can be triggering. This is all part of the work.
Life is triggering. Unfortunately I can not protect you from all the triggers therapy can bring.
Booking therapy is triggering. Being in therapy can be triggering.
Therapy helps you deal with the triggers differently.
I can't promise I won't trigger you unfortunately, I am human just like everyone else. I can promise that once you have started therapy and within the safety of contained sessions I am trained to help you understand the triggers better.
Over time these triggers can become less overwhelming.
I am unable to offer unplanned out of hours services. Although it is generally possible to arrange additional sessions if needed or
possible to book a half hour telephone session or email exchange at £20.
As with face to face work it is important to understand what is needed and how best to achieve this.
A 24 hour response time can be expected. (technology permitting)
In an emergency, for a listening ear you can contact the Samaritans on:
Text: 07725 90 90 90
Call: 08457 90 90 90
In case of a medical emergency please contact your local doctor's surgery or hospital for medical help or advice as I am not medically trained and your safety is my top priority.
In the case of suicidal tendencies a focus is put on stabilisation to calm the dis-regulated nervous system. I may also encourage the involvement of the crisis team accessed via the GP.
If clients falls into a crisis - counselling will be paused as it is not possible to do the work of counselling at the same time as navigating a mental health crisis. Unfortunately I am not a crisis manager.
Sometimes I recommend clients see other professionals I work alongside to help the work & sometimes I recommend other types of therapy for the work.