This process involves your commitment, your honesty both with yourself and your counsellor, and a genuine desire to engage. On our part, we have a genuine healing intent and provide commitment, honesty and utmost respect for yourself as an individual as well as our therapeutic skills. It is important that counselling is taken seriously.
Drugs and Alcohol
It is requested that you remain free of drugs and alcohol for the duration of each appointment in order that your counsellor can work with you in an authentic manner.
The Benefits of Counselling
One major benefit that may be gained from participating in counselling is the resolution of the concerns brought to therapy. Other possible benefits may be a better ability to cope with marital, family and other interpersonal relationships, and /or a greater understanding of personal goals and values.
The Risks of Counselling
There are certain risks involved in counselling. You may experience a variety of negative emotions during therapy as you remember and therapeutically resolve unpleasant events. Seeking to resolve concerns between family members, marital partners, and other persons can similarly lead to discomfort as well as relationship changes that may not be originally intended. The greatest risk of counselling is that it may not by itself resolve your concerns. Your Cornerstone counsellor will do their best to assess progress and provide referral to other sources if that is deemed necessary and appropriate. Counselling is a collaborative process and the progress you make will depend in large measure upon your investment in the process.
Your counsellor will take all reasonable steps to ensure that your counselling (whether virtual or face to face) takes place in a confidential space, and your Cornerstone counsellor will not discuss what is talked about in sessions outside of your time together. There are however some legal, ethical, and safety-related exceptions to this over which your counsellor is bound to notify external agencies, as relevant. The following list whilst extensive, is not exhaustive – and should matters of confidentiality arise in sessions, your counsellor will discuss these with you.
• All BACP affiliated counsellors are required to attend supervision as part of their continuing professional development, and in order to ensure that you receive the best possible service. Here are Cornerstone we are no exception to this, however we wish to stress that any client information discussed under supervision would be anonymous.
• If, in exceptional circumstances it is felt that either you or someone else were in danger or at risk of harm, then your counsellor may choose to break confidentiality in order to safeguard the individual concerned. You will be made aware that this is taking place, but your permission is not required by law.
• If you are involved in money laundering, acts of terrorism, or admit to having committed a crime (or clear intent to do so).
• As BACP registered counsellors, we are duty bound to have a method of informing you of our inability to attend a session, or even continue with your treatment in the event of serious accident or death. In such circumstances, we operate a Therapeutic Executor system, where a nominated person (also BACP registered) will be able to inform you via your chosen method of communication, of the aforementioned situation, and advise you accordingly.
Online therapy requires the use of external third party agencies in order to provide our service. These include but are not limited to Skype, FaceTime, Zoom and telephony providers. Cornerstone accepts no liability for how these technology providers will use any data provided by you, and by signing this contract you are providing your consent for our sessions to use a technological platform. When returning this contract to your therapist please nominate your chosen method of counselling provision.
In line with GDPR regulation, Cornerstone has a robust data protection policy to safeguard our client’s information when held in house. If you have any questions over what we do with your data, please refer to the data protection policy on our website. As your counsellor we have a legitimate interest in holding data relating to you, and we are happy to answer any questions you may have. We cannot accept liability for any third party data breaches where consent has been provided by you as client to use that service. You can view that policy here.
Counselling Credentials and Ethical Standards
As a minimum, your Cornerstone counsellor has undertaken two formal counselling qualifications, and has applied to take, and passed, the rigorous qualification process as defined by the BACP. You can have peace of mind knowing that your counsellor is a UK registered counsellor, and their credentials can be viewed on the BACP Therapy register (www.itsgoodtotalk.org.uk). As members of the BACP we are bound by their code of ethics, copies of which can be provided to you. We take your individual boundaries seriously and seek to work in the most ethical way.
Sessions are for 50 minutes and initially will be every week at a day and time suitable to you and your counsellor. We may however mutually decide to change the duration of, and interval between sessions as necessary when appropriate.
Your Cornerstone counsellor may keep brief written or typed notes, and you are welcome to see these at any time. These notes are anonymous, kept confidentially and no personal details will be kept on computer or passed to other agencies. At the end of your work together, your notes will be stored securely for a period of 5 years, mainly to aid future work should you wish to return to counselling. After that time they will be destroyed by secure shredding. No electronic records will be stored after the end of the aforementioned five year period.
Cornerstone holds both public liability and professional indemnity insurance. Copies of this documentation are available upon request.
Your counsellor will give a minimum of 2 weeks’ notice of any planned holiday dates when they will be unavailable. Cornerstone requires (where possible) at least 2 weeks’ notice from you of the same. Obviously sometimes cancellations are unavoidable, but we respectfully ask for as much notice as possible.
Should you wish to make a complaint about the service you have been offered, please in the first instance discuss this with your counsellor. If after this you feel that you would like to escalate your complaint further, please contact the BACP under whose ethics we work (available upon request).
Cost of Service and Payment of Fees
Our session fee is £50. Fees are reviewed annually in July, and are subject to change for new and existing clients. Fees are payable at the time of your session for face to face clients, and in advance for all virtual sessions. You can pay by card, BACS, Paypal, or we can offer invoice/payment links via Zettle.com.
Late or Non Payment
If at any time payment for sessions becomes an issue, please speak to your therapist at the earliest opportunity. Defaulting on payments with no communication will result in an immediate pause of therapy, and debt collecting agencies may be tasked to recover accrued missed session payments in line with therapeutic records.
Cancellations must be made 24 hours in advance to avoid being charged the agreed full session rate. Three successive missed appointments will result in this therapy being terminated.