Putting together a watertight counselling contract can be a minefield, especially for psychotherapists and counsellors who are not necessarily au fait with the various legal nuances that a client-counsellor relationship can present. It is highly advisable, therefore, to use pre-designed counselling contract framework to ensure against any potentially harmful legal repercussions at a later date.
Here at Calm Counselling, our standard form of agreement for counselling and psychotherapy is designed to be as easy to grasp, flexible and comprehensive as possible, and conforms to all the latest BACP directives. A client-counsellor relationship should be highly productive while still conforming to legal and ethical frameworks, and a fundamental step towards adhering to both is securing a sound, ethical client agreement
The recipe for such a counselling contract is as follows:
• Written in plain English, ideally with a Crystal Mark
• Comprehensive and conclusive
• Provides a clear basis for informed consent, with the relationship boundaries clearly set out
• Flexible and usable for a range of clients and from a number of theoretical standpoints
• Legally sound
Above anything else, a counselling contract should be simply laid out and easy for both client and practitioner to understand, while at the same time covering all necessary bases. Our counselling contract framework is not only does both of these, but is highly flexible and has been awarded a Crystal Mark for use of plain English.
Now, of course the focus of a counsellor or psychotherapist should be the client first and foremost, and while the Calm Counselling form of agreement makes life considerably easier for the professional, it also keeps the clients concerns in mind. The ethical principle of obtaining informed consent of a client – i.e making sure the clients are made aware of the counselling process and methods to be employed in the therapeutic relationship is both essential good practice conducive to a productive client-counsellor relationship and in creating the therapeutic alliance.
Only recently has the need and relevance of a sound client agreement been fully grasped even by the most “person-centred” practitioners. A sound client agreement is not only advisable from a legal point of view, but also for maximum peace of mind.
A counselling contract set out using our client agreement framework has the best interests of both client and practitioner at heart. We are committed to a thoroughly professional approach while also subscribing to growing legal and ethical challenges. You can purchase our counselling contract framework either on a subscription basis, or as a hard copy through our online shop. For more information, take a look at our counselling contract extract.