The keys to successful therapy
A lot of research has been conducted to discover what makes therapy successful, and the findings consistently demonstrate that the key factor is the relationship that develops between therapist and client. Another important factor is the ways in which the therapist adapts to the client’s characteristics, culture and preferences.
My commitment to you
All relationships are based on trust, and the therapeutic relationship is no different, so I will always do my best to understand you and your issues without making any assumptions. Everyone is different and you are entitled to be you and to hold your views about the world. If I struggle to understand, I will ask. I will not judge you. This doesn’t mean that I condone “bad” behaviour, but it does mean that I will presume good intent. I will also be honest so that you will always know where you stand with me.
What you can talk about
The therapist-client relationship is confidential in nature; I discuss cases with my supervisor, and there are also legal requirements to disclose information (see the next section). I may also need to contact your GP. Clients are sometimes worried about disclosing information, and wonder if it is safe to do so. In order to help, I offer you this list of some things (and there are others) which clients may have experienced and which can be discussed.
• Abuse: domestic, sexual, physical or emotional, past or present
• Self harm or suicidal thoughts/attempts
• Guilty secrets
• Problems with eating (e.g. binging or purging)
• Criminal convictions (see below for current criminal activity)
• Disturbing thoughts or wishes
• Sexual issues
• Anything not listed below!
Requirements for disclosure
Having given some examples of the things that you can discuss with me, it's important that you know that the law may forbid our normal confidentiality in the following circumstances:
• If I become aware, or have good reason to suspect, that you have knowledge of:
- A past or future incident/situation that may be dangerous or harmful to a child, you or another adult, and that is not known to the relevant authorities.
- Future or past criminal activity that has not been resolved in law. This means any criminal activity, of which the relevant authorities are either unaware or a case they know about which they consider not to be closed (provided you do not present information in therapy which would reasonably re-open the case). This does not include parking or traffic offences unless there is intent, by you or anyone else, to cause danger to yourself or others, or that it is deemed to be a “serious offence”. For our purposes a serious offence is something for which you could be imprisoned and for which the sentence (not necessarily imprisonment) hasn’t yet been served.
• It is also compulsory to report terrorism, potential radicalisation, money laundering and female genital mutilation to the appropriate authorities.
Other than as required by law, I will routinely discuss your case with my supervisor (in order to ensure that you get the best service), my supervisor will have access to your details if I am suddenly unavailable (to contact you and offer you ongoing care) and I may talk or write to your GP (but I will not give any personal details beyond what you are working on).