Reach’s Counselling Agreement allows for both counsellor and client to acknowledge their responsibilities in forming a distinctive, safe and productive counselling relationship. The Counselling Agreement will be discussed during your first session with an opportunity to answer any questions that you might have in order to create clear expectations and a firm foundation for what is on offer. It is as follows…
Reach is an independent Christian counselling centre offering pastoral and community counselling through trained counsellors. We have a mix of paid and volunteer counsellors all of whom commit to work to professional standards. Reach is a registered charity managed by a council of management.
Reach is both a founding member and an affiliated organisation with the Association of Christian Counsellors. Our counsellors are on the Accredited Register of Counsellors (unless in training) and work in line with either the ACC or BACP code of ethics.
The Counselling Relationship
- To offer a healthy counselling relationship to enable counselees to work through their concerns. This will be through good listening and counselling skills, notably, reflective listening and the use of appropriate questions.
- To facilitate the counsellee in beginning, progressing and appropriately ending the counselling relationship.
- To treat each counsellee with respect, empathy and honesty. Each counsellor can also use skills and knowledge from their own learning that they believe will most benefit the client.
- To have high regard for counsellees’ autonomy, respecting counsellees’ choices and freedom to live their own life.
- Will maintain confidentiality within good counselling practice:
- Counsellors may only share issues with anonymity for their own supervision.
- Counsellors to ask permission for taking and storing notes (see footnote below).
- To clarify duration (usually about an hour) and frequency of appointments.
- Willing to consider referral within or outside of Reach if their own limitations or availability is realised.
- Willing to communicate their training, experience, qualification and any counselling limitations where appropriate.
- Will maintain all respectful boundaries. Will not give advice or normally act on behalf of counsellees, though appropriate suggestions may be offered.
- Are prepared to attend all arranged appointments or to inform as early as possible if unable to attend. (Some counsellors travel considerable distances and come in specifically for individual appointments – your consideration would be much appreciated). For any unattended appointments, without prior notice, you may be asked to contribute towards costs.
- Postponements, though at times unavoidable, are undesirable and may sometimes lead to a severe disruption in the counselling.
- Are encouraged to ask any appropriate questions and to share how the counselling may be affecting them, so they may gain sufficient confidence in deciding how to progress.
- On rare occasions, and to assist counsellors’ development, we ask if a session may be observed or recorded. Should you be asked, which will be in advance, please be assured of your right to refuse at any point without it affecting your counselling. Your comfort in this is our priority.
- To be aware that Reach has a complaints policy and procedure
- To inform Reach if for any reason they choose not to continue with counselling.
- Are prepared to consider giving a fair donation in line with the Reach Fair Donation Principle of £1 per session per £1,000 of annual income (e.g. £20 for £20,000 income). Please discuss this with your counsellor if you have any questions about this matter, or anything else in this agreement.
Counselling case notes
With your permission your counsellor will write notes following each session. These will be a brief factual record of the session and may include any work you have done in or for the session. Your name will not be on these notes and they will be held in a coded system in a lockable cabinet and separate from your contact information. The notes may be shared with the counsellor’s supervisor, with anonymity, for the counsellor’s support and development in helping you.
These notes and your contact information will be held for three years after the end of your counselling, except where you request us to retain them for longer or when the counsellor believes that it is in the best professional interest to do so.
Any information about you or your counselling will only be shared with anyone outside Reach following a request from you or your authorised representative, or if there is a legitimate legal requirement or a compelling ethical responsibility.
You have the right to ask to see and amend any information held by Reach about you. Should you request to see a copy of your counselling case notes, both the counsellor and agency will be informed and you may be asked what your reason is for wanting to see them. Please note, this does not include counselling process notes or supervision notes, that the counsellor may use to aid their development. To do this please either ask your counsellor or contact the Reach appointment’s manager.
Records of contact between you and Reach
Your name and telephone number may be stored on a password protected mobile phone (especially at certain sites) until the counselling relationship ends and then it will be deleted from the contact list. However, the phone will retain summary records of calls (date and duration) and any recorded messages until deleted or up to three years. If we agree to communicate by text or email, these records may be kept for the same duration as your counselling notes.