I am often asked questions when Clients first contact me and these are some of the FAQ about Psychology :-
Q. Are sessions confidential ?
Yes – your sessions with me are confidential between us. Your right to confidentiality is very important and It would be unethical for a Counselling Psychologist to disclose any information about a Client to another person without the Client’s expressed permission.
However, there are two exceptions to this general rule;
– where a client discloses information that leads me to believe either they or another individual is at serious risk of harm I am obliged to disclose this information to an appropriate third party, e.g. the client’s GP or social services. Whenever possible I will discuss this with the client before talking to any third party.
– as a practitioner psychologist my work is regularly supervised by another psychologist to ensure that clients are receiving an appropriate and effective service. Where a client is discussed in supervision I will not disclose their name or any other details that might identify them to my supervisor.
Q. Will my GP be informed about any treatment ?
It depends. If you are self- funding, then the choice is yours to make. In cases where you are receiving treatment for a diagnosable disorder, e.g. depression, It is good practice to keep your GP informed of any treatment but this is not compulsory and I will respect your wishes in this matter, except as stated above.
If your Insurance company is funding your treatment then they will often expect progress reports to be copied to GPs.
Q. How many sessions are usually required ?
Coaching and Counselling relationships are flexible and open-ended. Often a client will derive great benefit from as few as 4 or 5 sessions and regular contact will cease at that time with the door open to future sessions as and if required by the client.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is typically a longer process and dependent upon the nature and severity of the problem a client can expect to attend for between 6 and 20 sessions with a typical course of therapy spanning 12 sessions. Usually these will be spaced about a week apart with the last few sessions tailing off to monthly attendance.
Q. What if an Insurance Company requests an Assessment?
Where I am asked to prepare a psychology report on an individual for an insurance company or other third party, you should bear in mind that this report is the property of that Insurance company. I would recommend that you satisfy yourself of the intended distribution and uses of such reports.
Q. Do I have to attend sessions in person or can we use the phone or Skype?
It’s often possible to conduct the majority of coaching or counselling sessions by phone or Skype if this is more convenient for you.
Generally I would encourage people to attend in person for their first session though I do recognise that this is not always possible. For cognitive behavioural therapy it’s usually more effective to conduct sessions on a face to face basis, although it can work well where, for example, every other session is conducted by phone/Skype.