Records & Confidentiality
I will be keeping notes of counselling sessions. These will not identify you as an individual. They may be kept on computer, as written notes or print outs.
Everything you tell me is confidential with a few exceptions:
Gender Recognition Act Disclosure of Protected Information
Section 22 of the Gender Recognition Act 2004 prohibits the disclosure of “protected information” except under specified circumstances. Protected information relates to an application for a Gender Recognition Certificate or, if the individual has a GRC, to information about their previous gender.
This could prevent the counsellor from referring the client to other services that might be appropriate including referring the client to any support groups. The client gives permission for the counsellor to disclose “protected information” where necessary to obtain support for the client from other agencies and services. This permission to remain in force until the client gives notice in writing withdrawing that permission.
Where “protected information” is passed on it will be to named individuals who have been advised of their obligations under the GRA not to disclose it further without permission from the client.
Sessions will usually be held at an agreed venue or via Skype.
Frequency of Meetings
I suggest we aim for monthly sessions at first - possibly reducing the frequency later. There is no limit to the number of sessions you can have nor to the length of counselling relationship - although to be realistic, if at any stage, we find that we are not making progress - then we would review the situation. The options at that time would include referring you to someone else.
If at any time, you feel that you can no longer work with me - please let me know. We can then look at referring you to someone else if appropriate. Please do not just not turn up. If you do not attend for two consecutive sessions, it is usually necessary to terminate the sessions. If you then wanted to recommence counselling, it would be necessary to go through the referral system again and there would be no guarantee that I would be available. Obviously exceptions can be made – holidays, sickness, recovering from the op etc.
The sessions will be for what we call a "Counselling Hour". It's actually 50 minutes from the appointment time. (This allows 10 minutes afterwards for us to clear the room before the next appointment). This does mean that if you are late for the appointment, you will usually lose some of the "hour".
Counselling Fees are negotiable and based on an individual's ability to pay - I have never turned anyone away just because they can't afford to contribute. That said, I have recently retired so now need to ensure that I do cover the costs incurred in providing the service.
The standard rate is usually £1 per session per £1,000 of income. However, as Trans clients frequently face significant additional costs, the fee is usually reduced. The minimum will usually be £10 per session (unless the client genuinely can’t afford this amount) and the maximum £40 per session.
Fees are payable in cash or by cheque for face to face sessions at the end of the session or via credit transfer or in advance by Paypal for Skype sessions.
If you need to cancel an appointment please try to give me at least 24 hours notice. If you are going to be late, please call me on my mobile or send me a text message. I will make every effort to do the same.
If you are not here at the appointed time, I will wait 15 minutes. I would ask you to do the same if I am ever late. I will try to ensure that this never happens or would, at least contact you.
Failure to attend without notice
I accept that emergencies occur and it is sometimes not possible to cancel with at least 24 hours notice. The first time that this occurs – no sanction will be applied.
If a client does not attend a session and does not provide at least 3 hours notice of cancellation on two occasions, the counsellor will require a deposit of £40 against future “failures to attend without 3 hours notice” before further sessions can be arranged. In the event of any further “failures to attend without notice”, the deposit shall be forfeit and a further deposit shall be due before further sessions can be arranged.
Social contact between counsellors and clients is considered unethical. There is, however, a clear risk in the trans community and especially in Manchester of clients and counsellors visiting the same bars or clubs or support groups. You may or may not want your friends to know that you are undergoing counselling. For this reason, I will not even indicate that I recognise you if I see you outside these offices.
Equally, I would ask you to respect the fact that our counselling relationship must remain within the agreed venue. As you will appreciate, counsellors need to be highly focused when dealing with clients and we are not likely to be at our most professional at 2 am on a dance floor after a few drinks. In any case, we do also need to relax and be able to switch off ourselves. I will not, therefore, be prepared to offer counselling outside the agreed venue.
Attending sessions under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Please ensure that you do not arrive for sessions under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Please ensure that your mobile phone is switched off during sessions.
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