Here you can find information about services, terms and conditions, billing practices and everything that helps you to be informed when you decided to into a service agreement with me. If you have a question that is not answered here, just e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Terms and conditions for therapeutic services
ALL clients who make use of therapeutic services must agree to these terms and conditions:
- Remember, therapy is a deeply personal and individual process. It is a relationship in which your therapist has some responsibilities and you have some responsibilities. Everyone responds differently and progress at their own, unique pace. Sometimes, therapy may result in emotional distress. If this happens, discuss it with your therapist immediately.
- The therapist makes use of modalities such as clinical hypnosis, EMDR and NLP. Sometimes these are integrated into the conversation and may not always be obvious. If you have any concerns or questions about these modalities, please discuss them with the therapist at the beginning of the therapy process.
- All client information is kept strictly confidential. In special circumstances, the therapist may decide to share critical information about the client with third parties, for example: (1) cases of suspected child neglect or maltreatment of any kind, (2) cases of suspected risk of harm to the client or any other person, (3) cases in which the therapist is required by law or by a court of law to provide information. In such an exceptional case, the therapist will always discuss this with the client first – if possible.
- The therapist makes use of professional supervision from time to time and may discuss information about the client with a supervisor. In such cases, no identifying information will be shared in order to protect the identity of the client. This is standard practice for therapists.
- A client may terminate services at any time by giving notice to the therapist. Therapy is a voluntary process.
- The therapist may terminate services if it is appropriate to do so. In such a case, the client will always be provided with a referral.
- When minor children are enrolled for therapy, BOTH parents must sign consent regardless of whether parents are separated or divorced.
- When therapy is provided to minor children, the content of children’s sessions remain confidential and will not be disclosed to a parent. However, the therapist will discuss with the parent issues regarding to the progress of therapy.
Reports for employers, courts or other third parties
This practice provides therapeutic services only and NO reports will be provided for court or any other purpose. Clients who are aware that they might need reports to be written for any purpose must disclose this at the start of the therapy process.
In cases where the therapist is ordered by the court to testify in relation to a client or provide a report, the client will be billed directly for such services and the normal hourly rate will apply.
All sessions are recorded – this is a requirement for professional social work therapy services. Some session recordings consist mainly of therapist notes written after the session. Recordings can also include audio or video recordings.
Therapist recordings are records are not available to the client and will not be released to the client unless the therapist is ordered to do so by a court of law.
Storage of client information
Client information is stored in physical files. These files are temporary and when services are terminated, the records are scanned and stored electronically. Files are stored electronically on a computer to which only the therapist has access and which is password protected.
Basic client contact information is stored on the therapist’s cellular phone. The therapist is the only person who uses the phone and access is password protected.
What can I expect when I make a booking?
A first session is usually quite informal and will give you and the therapist a chance to briefly talk about the issues you want to address and decide on the best therapeutic options for you. It is your opportunity to ask the therapist questions about his qualifications, experience, any anything else you consider important for you in a therapist. It is also the therapist’s opportunity to get an understanding of the problems you face and decide if he is competent to help you.
When you arrive for your first session you will be asked to complete some basic information on an intake form before the session starts. It is best to arrive a few minutes earlier for this purpose.
At the end of the first session you should be comfortable with the way forward. You should have a clear idea of what therapy will entail for you and should have all your questions answered.
How many sessions will I need?
That depends completely on you as a client and your unique circumstances. Some clients only need one session, while others need 8 to 12 sessions to get the results that they want. Some clients want to address the current life circumstances and immediate crisis, but are not interested in resolving long-term problems; they may need fewer sessions. Other clients have decided to finally address the issues that have plagued them all their life once for all – they might use more sessions.
Sometimes, even bigger problems don’t need big solutions. So don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because you have had a problem for a long time, that it must take a long time to resolve it.
To be fair, I usually answer this question like this: “The first two sessions have a strong focus on assessment in order to really understand the problem. It is like putting together a puzzle – one piece at a time. Within the first 2 – 3 sessions you should have a sense that this approach is working for you – even if you need lots of work more to do. If you do not have a clear sense of some progress within the first 3 sessions, then this might not be the right approach for you and we should reconsider our options. The average client makes use of between 6 and 12 sessions.”
How much will it cost?
I use the Discovery Medical Aid tariff as a guideline and the standard rate for one 1-hour session is R475.50. It is a cash practice, so fees as due at each session. Clients who settle on the same day as the consultation only pay R400 for the consultation. Payments can be made in cash, but most clients prefer to do an EFT. Regrettably no card facilities are available.
Will my medical aid cover the cost?
I do not submit claims on behalf of clients, but the client can submit a claim after having made payment. Not all medical aids cover therapy services by social workers, but many do. You should check with your medical aid – it also depends on your medical aid option and benefits available.
Here is something many clients do not think about: In order to submit a claim to your medical aid, a diagnosis must be made and this is reflected on the invoice. Some clients are completely comfortable with their medical aid being aware of their mental health diagnosis, while some prefer to keep this private.
Sometimes life gets in the way of our plans and appointments need to be rescheduled. However, should you need to reschedule, please do so at least 24 hours in advance. It is a real problem that clients often miss appointments or may even decide to terminate services simply by missing an appointment and not making another appointment. Some service providers threaten to charge for sessions missed – I don’t do that. If a client does not attend a session, that time is lost; it is a session which another client could have used and it is a loss of income for the therapist. Therapy is a relationship that requires mutual respect – if the client does not respect the therapist enough to take responsibility for attending sessions or contacting the therapist to reschedule, the therapist may decide to terminate services.