Before we begin working together it is important we have a working agreement so we know what is required of us.
This is our Online Counselling Agreement. I ask that you please take some time to read it carefully as it will help to assist in our work together. If there is anything that you are not sure about or anything you feel I may have missed please let me know.
I work in a Person-Centred way so I will not advise you or tell you what to do but I will help you explore the areas in your life which you choose to bring to counselling. I will support you in making your own decisions and help you gain a better understanding of yourself and your situation. I will offer a non-judgemental space for you to explore your issues in your own time and at your own pace.
I offer Online Counselling for adults. This includes:
I adhere to the Ethical Framework for Good Practice provided by BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) with which I am a Registered Member. You may find details on their website here: https://www.bacp.co.uk/ethical_framework/new_ef.php
I am also a level 3 senior professional member of ACTO (Association for Counselling and Therapy Online) and adhere to their Ethical Framework for Online Counsellors: https://acto-org.uk/professional-conduct-code-ethics/
I have insurance for personal liability and professional indemnity which covers me to work anywhere in the world. Some countries however such as Canada and certain States within the USA have different legislation regarding online counselling and we would therefore need to ensure safe and legal practice before our work can go ahead.
Any claims made against me are subject to UK law. I would be happy however to discuss any issues you might have regarding my counselling practice and hopefully we can resolve these together.
Any therapeutic exchanges we have remain confidential and no content shall be used for any other purpose. The only time confidentiality does not apply is if I am concerned about your own or someone else’s safety, or if you express intent to break the law in which case I may need to pass some information on to relevant parties only. I would however where possible discuss this with you first.
I may discuss aspects of our work with my supervisor to assist our work together and develop my practice but your identity shall remain anonymous.
Records of our work will be kept no longer than 2 years after counselling has ceased.
I am registered with the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) as a controller of sensitive data and work to their standards for storing any information about you. More information can be found at: https://ico.org.uk/
I suggest if possible you use a private password protected computer and private e-mail address for our therapeutic exchanges and I will do the same.
You may prefer to use an encrypted e-mail account for our therapeutic e-mails such as www.hushmail.com or www.safe-mail.net
For added security I use hushmail to send my therapeutic e-mails to you. If you wish your e-mails to be password protected, please let me know and we can arrange this.
Virus and spyware definitions are regularly updated on my computer – I please ask that you carry out similar safety precautions on your own computer.
I also recommend you use a private and quiet space in which to carry out your online counselling which will feel safer for you to explore any difficult issues.
As this will be a professional relationship I am unable to accept friend requests on social networking sites. Also, could I please ask that you refrain from sharing any content of our counselling sessions on any public networking sites.
How it works:
This is usually one therapeutic e-mail per week to start with unless we mutually agree to a longer period between e-mails. We may agree from the outset to work together for a number of sessions.
I will briefly respond to your e-mail to let you know I have received it and it would be helpful for me if you could also let me know when you have received my therapeutic response.
You may send an e-mail on any day of the week or you may wish to send it on a particular day. I ask however that you allow 72 hours (3 days) before receiving a therapeutic reply from me. I will let you know if this is not possible.
Each therapeutic e-mail (TE) from me will be sent as a word document in an attachment so you can read it when you are ready. I will label them TE1, TE2 etc. You may send me your e-mails as an attachment or in the main body of your e-mail.
I will spend at least an hour reading your e-mail and writing a therapeutic response – Anything up to 800 words works quite well although try not to worry too much about the word count as there may be more one week and less another week. If there is anything I am unable to attend to in this time it may be carried over to the next session.
If I do not hear from you within 7 days of sending my response (unless we agree that e-mail transactions should be further apart) I shall send a brief prompt. If I do not hear from you again I will assume you feel that our counselling work is complete for now and that you do not wish to continue.
Instant Messaging or Webcam sessions
We agree on a set day and time to ‘meet’ on-line using VSee or Zoom. This secure platform provides a high level of end-to-end encryption.
Webcam sessions may be carried out with our cameras turned off (Audio only).
Online counselling sessions will last for up to 50 minutes – they may be weekly or further apart depending on your requirements.
Payment can be made by bank transfer, PayPal or cheque – preferably before you begin your counselling sessions.
Details will be sent to you once we have agreed to work together.
Details of fees are available on my website: https://www.natashalesliecounselling.co.uk/fees/
If you cancel your arranged Instant Messaging or Webcam session with at least 24 hours before your appointment you will not be charged for your missed session. If you cancel your appointment less than 24 hours you will still be charged for half the regular fee. I am willing to show discretion in some instances however when missing your appointment cannot be helped. In such instances we can arrange an alternative time for your appointment.
If for any reason I cannot send you an e-mail within the agreed time frame such as if I have technical difficulties or I am ill, I will send a brief text message, email or telephone you (whichever is your preferred method of communication) to let you know as soon as possible. We can thereby make an alternative arrangement.
Similarly, if you experience any technical difficulties or illness please get in touch as soon as possible to let me know. My mobile phone number is 07513068807.
During our work together we may regularly evaluate how the counselling is going and if it is the most suitable form of support for you at this time.
If you feel that our online counselling relationship is not working, if you require a counsellor with specific expertise, or if online work is not suitable for you then I am happy to explore some alternative options with you.
If I feel that I am not able to provide you with the level of support you require (such as if I feel your mental health issues are outwith my area of expertise) I have the right to discontinue our work together. This would be done with your own best interests at heart and carried out as senstitively as possible. I would help you to find alternative support where possible.
If you have any complaints about my work please let me know and we can hopefully work through and resolve these together. You have the right however to inform my professional body by contacting the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).
Telephone number: 01455 883300
I will not ask for feedback or a testimonial but if you would like to offer either it would be gratefully received.
As I am not available for emergency contact I highly recommend you get in touch with your doctor or emergency services in your area if you feel particularly distressed at any time. Alternatively you can contact Samaritans online: firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone: 116 123 (free any time from any phone).
If you are resident outside the UK – Befrienders Worldwide is a very useful crisis support website which can direct you to a helpline in your country – http://www.befrienders.org/
I have read the above contract for Online Counselling with Natasha Leslie and agree to its terms