When you begin your sessions for the first time you may be unsure what to expect. The information in this guide answers the most frequently asked questions. We hope that you will find it helpful.
When you first meet your coach or therapist, he or she will listen carefully to the difficulties you are experiencing, and discuss ways with you of coping with the problem. Your session will involve talking about the problem. It will not involve physical contact of any kind.
Your coach or therapist is a highly qualified and experienced practitioner and is a member of a professional organisation that has a strict code of ethics. The work you do together will be about helping you to find the right solutions for you, rather than telling you what to do. The coach or therapist will also support you, when necessary, in obtaining specialised or long-term support if he or she deem it appropriate.
Strict confidentiality is always maintained and is an essential part of the process. No information either verbal or written will be disclosed to your employer or to anyone else without your written consent. The only circumstances where confidentiality may be breached are when your life or safety is threatened or you disclose any information which places the safety of others at risk, or where the coach or therapist is obliged to comply with legal requirements, i.e. fraud or criminal proceedings.
All therapists are required to have a supervisor who monitors the quality of their work. The process of supervision is conducted in a way that ensures confidentiality
If your session has been scheduled by way of a booking and you are unable to keep the appointment we ask that you give at least 24 hours notice – if you have paid for your session yourself and do not do so, you will lose the pre-paid fee (except in completely unavoidable circumstances such as sudden illness). The appointment can then be used by someone else. If your coach or therapist has to change an appointment for any reason, she or he will give you as much notice as possible and will arrange an alternative date and time.
It sometimes happens that a referral to another source of help is necessary. This may be because you would gain from specialist help. In such a case, your coach or therapist will suggest other professionals or organisations for you to contact. Should this arise, any fees would be met by you, as arranged with the new practitioner.
Therapists and coaches are required to take very brief notes during your sessions. At the completion of your session your notes will be kept for a minimum seven-year period. GDPR means you have a right of access whereby you may ask to receive copies of your case notes. Your notes will not be released to a third party without your signed consent.
When therapy is not appropriate
For some time now the psychotherapy world has acknowledged that certain types of therapy may not be the correct approach to clients who have been in, witnessed or in some way have been affected by a ‘traumatic event’.
Early stages of bereavement
The first few weeks of bereavement can be very difficult and confusing, often filling people with an unfamiliar mixture of feelings and emotions. Many people do not know how to handle this or can feel scared or ashamed that they are feeling ‘nothing’. One of the most common early reactions being denial, which is why therapy in the early stages of bereavement might not be helpful.
Victim, Defendant or Witness in a court case
The law is clear that where a person is due to appear in court to give evidence, as a victim, defendant or witness they should not attend psychotherapy to discuss their experiences or to be seen to rehearse their evidence. This could be interpreted as ‘coaching’ a witness or ‘altering’ a person’s recollection of events.