Angelika Vraka (MA)

Counselling & Psychotherapy  |  Face to Face & Online

Informed Consent and Privacy Statement

|  Process Of Therapy/Evaluation

Therapy is truly beneficial in many ways and whether you have decided to do it as a means to resolve specific issues, or to generally improve interpersonal relationships, personal involvement is absolutely necessary in order for it to be effective. Though it can be hard at times, you are expected to be very open about your personal experiences, honest above all with yourself, and to give feedback to your therapist with regards to your personal views on your progress, your doubts, or other aspects of your therapy.

Therapy to help you deal with your issues can be done following different approaches. At times having to talk about or even recalling certain experiences of the past can make you feel upset, sad, angry, anxious, worried, disappointed and could even lead to conditions such as depression and insomnia. It is my job to challenge you, so you can change your perception of the situations that trigger those feelings and see them from a completely different point of view.

Psychotherapy is something as complex as one’s personality and can bring about changes that may or may not regard the issues that initially led you to it. Undertaking new behaviours to resolve specific problems, for example can result in changes that were not initially planned or thought of and may concern different aspects of your life such as personal relationships, employment, housing, education, nutrition, drinking and substance use. Although these changes are mainly positive, other members of your family or people that are close to you may not accept them immediately and they could even consider them negative. It is all part of the process just like the progress that you make which at times can be very slow. Patience is required in order to see results that may or may not be intended. Throughout the course of the therapy, it is up to the therapist to decide which psychological or motivational approaches to use depending on the issue that is being treated. By always having the client’s benefit in mind, these approaches can include behavioural, cognitive-behavioural, psychodynamic, existential, system/family, developmental (adult, child, family), psycho-educational or coaching techniques.

|  Discussion Of Treatment Plan

Therapy is a team effort. And from the very start you need to take an active part in the process in order for the counselling experience to be valuable. This entails discussing with your therapist the reasons why you are seeking therapy, your expectations, the outcome you are aiming at, but also the treatment plan you want to follow. Openness and trust are fundamental so in case you have any doubts or questions about the potential benefits, the risks involved, the therapist’s expertise, or any other aspect of the therapy, you will be answered fully. In case you want a treatment that could be of benefit to you, which however is different from the one we have undertaken, it is your right to expect me to assist you in obtaining it.

|  Dual Relationships

The relationship between the therapist and the client is a delicate one and any inappropriate or exploitative actions or situations such as dating or sexual involvement are strictly prohibited because they could interfere with the therapist’s objectivity or impair his/her clinical judgement. As a result the therapeutic effectiveness would be at risk. Additionally, the therapist has a moral obligation to preserve the integrity of the working relationship with the patient and must not acknowledge working with anyone without their consent in written form. For all of the above reasons I will by no means accept invitations on networking sites, nor will I respond to blogs written by clients or accept comments from clients on my own blog.

|  Termination And Referral

Not always is a psychotherapist able to help clients and be of benefit to them. That’s why during the first sessions, I will have to evaluate whether I can be of help to you. If either at the beginning of the process or at any point during psychotherapy I realize that I am not effective in helping you reach your goals, I am obliged to terminate the treatment and refer you to a different psychotherapist. It could be one of your choice or one that I believe can be suitable to help you. However, I will only pass on information about you to the new therapist if I have your consent in written form. And even if it’s you who chooses to terminate treatment, I will assist you in finding someone qualified and provide them with all the necessary information so as for you to be able to continue psychotherapy. Sometimes, clients request online counselling instead of face-to-face sessions and even in that case, it is my job to decide whether psychotherapy delivered via technology is suitable for them. I will not accept to take on clients who in my opinion cannot benefit from it.

|  Confidentiality Of Online, And Mobile Phone Communication

Any form of communication between the client and the psychotherapist other than the psychotherapy sessions is not considered secure enough so the only means of electronic communication that I accept is via an encrypted email/chat service such as Hushmail. The same applies for E-mails between sessions. Text messaging can be used for appointments or housekeeping issues. I don not store my clients’ names on my mobile phone calendar. If you call me, it is best to use a landline to make sure the conversation remains confidential.

Confidentiality is of fundamental importance to me and I always make sure I don’t compromise it in any way. I expect you to do the same by making sure you protect your personal files and determine who has access to your computer or other electronic devices that you may use.

I suggest you always use the same computer to communicate with me to ensure confidentiality. Make sure to fully exit all online counselling sessions and emails. If you use location-based services on your mobile phone, get informed about the privacy issues related to using these services. Moreover, if you have GPS tracking enabled on your device, it is possible that others may assume that you are a therapy client due to regular check-ins at my office on a weekly basis. Please be aware of this risk because in case you don’t want to intentionally check- in from my office, a passive LBS app enabled on your phone might do so without you knowing it.

I generally do not look up my clients on Google or any other search engines and neither do I contact them on social network sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter etc. There are however times when I might resort to these means if I have a reason to suspect that you may be in danger because you have not come to our appointment or cannot be reached by phone or email. In such case, it is my priority to ensure your welfare, so I might use a search engine or social a network to find you or maybe someone who is close to you. Such situations are very rare but in case one arises, I will make sure to inform you and talk about it when we next meet.

|  Cofidentiality

I follow the code of ethics of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy which can be downloaded from their website.

Your discussions with me are always confidential as laid down in the BACP code of ethics. I will only breach confidentiality if I believe you intend to harm yourself or another, if I am required to do so by Court Order or under statute or you consent me to do so. I will speak to you before I disclose any information. In addition my work is supervised in accordance with the Rules of the UKCP and BACP, I might discuss aspects of your therapy however without revealing your identity.

|  Telephone & Emergency Procedures

In case of an emergency that may arise between sessions, you can call me on 0044 (0) 7983 01 3322 and I will get back to you as soon as possible. I always make sure to check my messages daily, although never at nigh time. Messages are checked less often at weekends or holidays. For emergencies that require immediate attention you can call the 24hr helpline (UK) 08457 909090 (ROI) 1850.

|  Fees And Cancelations

Session payments via credit or debit card can be processed through Paypal. Sessions are generally purchased in 50minute increments. Since scheduling of an appointment involves the reservation of time specifically for you, a minimum of 24-hour notice is required for re-scheduling or cancelling an appointment. Unless we reach a different agreement, the full fee will be charged for sessions missed without such notification. If we are scheduled for an online synchronous chat, audio or videoconference and we are unable to connect or are disconnected during a session due to a technological breakdown, please try to reconnect within 10 minutes. If reconnection is not possible, contact me to schedule a new session time.

|  Limitations Regarding Online Therapy

You as a client must take into account the fact that as opposed to the in-person sessions, distance therapy lacks the personal face to face interaction, the visual and auto cues that you may have previously come to expect and is generally a different experience. Telephone or online psychotherapy is not a substitute for any medication that you are required to take under the care of a psychiatrist or doctor. Moreover, online and telephone therapy is not appropriate if you are experiencing a crisis or have suicidal /homicidal thoughts. If a life-threatening crisis occurs, you ought to contact Befriender’, a crisis hotline, or go to a hospital emergency room.

By submitting the Questionnaire required for services you agree to this informed consent. Your submission of the Questionnaire suffices as an electronic signature. If you fill the Questionnaire out and bring the form to your first session you will be required to sign this agreement.

|       No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it        |        Albert Einstein        |

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