So, what is meant by a counselling contract? It means that for counselling to be successful, the following points will be in place:-
- A counsellor listens to what you are saying, to experience the same feelings and emotions.
- It is not for a counsellor to give advice but to help you see the options that you have identified yourself and for you to make your own choices.
- Counselling is a confidential service. This means that anything that is said is confidential, with the exception of if it is felt that you are going to harm yourself, or someone else. A counsellor also has regular supervision, which means that he / she speaks with someone more experienced than himself / herself, so as to increase or improve skills and therefore give a better service. When I am involved in supervision, all clients remain nameless.
- During a counselling session, the counsellor may feel that by telling you something about his / her own experiences, it will help you with how you are feeling. The counsellor therefore entrusts the client with this information, thus creating a genuine relationship.
- Although it is usual to agree to work together for at least four sessions, (at which point a client can usually assess whether he / she will benefit from further sessions), you are free to call a halt to counselling at any time (i.e. one session or after several). Payment is expected, only for sessions carried out.
- A counselling session is often referred to as a ‘fifty minute hour’. This means that the first five minutes will be to settle down into the session, fifty minutes will be working on feelings and emotions and the last five minutes will be to reflect on everything that has happened during the session and to wind down. Should you call late for commencement of the agreed hour, you must respect that the previously accepted ending time may still have to be adhered to, since another client may be awaiting his / her agreed appointment time.
For the client making use of counselling by phone, there will be some points that must also be noted. For both counselling by phone and online, it will be the client’s responsibility to make sure that his / her environment for the duration of the session is fuss-free i.e. free from interruptions, of an agreeable temperature, free from clutter and, above all, private. Counselling means that the client will be working on his / her thoughts and feelings and so it is important to realise that any distraction could cause a break in concentration.