The Components of a Comprehensive Counselling Contract
In all the forms of interpersonal counselling, from one-on-one psychotherapy to group work using organizational psychology principles, there needs to be a clear understanding between counsellor and client(s) about the duties and obligations of each party. A counselling contract seeks to establish a firm agreement, and a comprehensive counselling contract template, as Calm Counselling Publications provides, gives protection for counsellors and clients alike for all types of one-to-one and group configurations.
In other words, the use of a sample counselling contract or sample counselling forms provides you with a point of comparison for your existing contracts, helping you see if you are adequately protecting yourself and your clients. In particular, our samples will help you determine if you sufficiently provided the following elements:
The Major Component – Confidentiality
One of the most important elements of a counselling agreement is counsellor-client confidentiality. Due to the private (and often confessional, in the case of psychotherapy) nature of this relationship, the ethical codes that counsellors must adhere to are strict. These include guidelines for situations where client confidentiality must be broken in order to inform law enforcement of anything requiring their urgent attention (this includes situations involving criminal offences such as child abuse). A comprehensive counselling contract example covers all aspects of confidentiality, and helps to foster a relationship of trust between each party involved in the counselling session. By comparing your contract with a counselling contract template from Calm Counselling Publications, you can see if your confidentiality clauses are up to par.
Session Length Agreement
Because of the discursive nature of counselling (the dialogue and storytelling that is an integral part of the process), it can be tricky for counsellors to cut clients short when their time is up. Establishing the set length of a session firmly from the start helps to avoid confusion and also helps to structure each session, so that both counsellor and client have a clear sense of how much time there is to address any particular incident. Typically, this section of the agreement will also cover what should happen if a client is late for a session or is unable to make the usual session time on a given day.
Counselling Contracts and Fee Agreements
Payment is often a sensitive matter between counsellor and client, as the personal nature of the exchange can make the professional aspect of the relationship fade into the background at times. It is thus crucial for a counselling contract to cover fee agreements, so that any financial requirements and obligations, such as frequency and form of payment, are clearly understood.
Terminating Counselling or Cancelling Appointments
Another important section of a counselling contract covers the standard approach that will be used when a client decides to end counselling or if a single appointment or more need to be cancelled (a temporary interruption rather than a complete end to ongoing sessions). Because it is common practice for private psychotherapists to request a final closing session where the client’s decision to end counselling is discussed, requirements such as this should be worded into the sections of the contract dealing with cancellation and termination.
The above are just some of the elements that make a comprehensive counselling contract. View the contents page of our counselling contract template for a full list of standard agreement sections and sub-sections. This will give you a clear idea of what is required of a full, fool-proof agreement.
Calm Counselling Publications is dedicated to helping clients draft counselling contracts that help foster a fantastic relationship with their patients. If you wish to view a counselling contract example to find out what a proper example of a counselling contract should contain, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us by visiting our Contact page.