Terms of Service

Let’s Talk Online Psychology Service Therapy Contract

The aim of this contract is to put in writing the terms and conditions of your psychological therapy.
 
About 

Let’s Talk Online was founded with the endeavour to improve the accessibility of psychological therapies, providing treatment on the telephone and online. My name is Dr Kristine Abercrombie and I am a Chartered Clinical Psychologist. I have studied and worked within the field of psychology for the past 18 years. I completed a BSc in Applied Psychology and a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. I am a Chartered member of the British Psychological Society - www.bps.org.uk - and registered with the Health and Care Professions Council - www.hpc-uk.org.  Chartered membership reflects the highest standard of psychological knowledge and expertise. I am currently studying to become a Certified Cyber Facilitator, specialising in online therapy and supervision.

What to expect? 

Assessment and treatment occurs via telephone or online. I offer a free initial consultation appointment. This enables you to tell me a little bit about what has been going on for you, whilst asking any questions you might have. A free consultation provides you with an opportunity to try out any of the different formats (telephone/video conferencing/instant messaging/email) and consider what is a good fit for you. Your assessment will include ensuring your suitability to psychotherapy delivered via technology.

If I feel I could help, and you would like to see me for treatment, we would decide together what type of treatment delivery would be best suited. Some people decide to have regular weekly sessions, others prefer just a few appointments to talk through a particular difficulty they are having. Sessions generally last one hour. This can however be adjusted depending on your individual needs and situation and cost adjusted accordingly. With regards to email therapy, I will also put aside an hour to provide a thorough and thoughtful therapeutic reply to your email. You will receive a reply within 48 hours, or alternatively at a time of your choice. 

During these appointments you will explore in more depth what is going on in your life presently, you might also talk about your earlier experiences.  Therapy can be a daunting prospect and can be hard work and progress can be slow or personally challenging to begin with. You will be provided with a safe and containing space to share your story at a pace you feel comfortable. We will continually review and reflect upon our work together, evaluating your goals and thinking about how best to help you reach them. If for some reason I do not feel I am the therapist for you, I will point you in the direction of a number of colleagues who may have expertise best suited to your needs. You have the right to end therapy at any time. If you choose to do so, I will offer to provide you with names of other qualified professionals whose services you might prefer. 

Confidentiality

As a member of the British Psychological Society, I abide by their code of ethics. If you would like to see these please let me know and you will be provided with a copy. This means that there are certain constraints on being able to keep what you share confidential. For example, in accordance with these guidelines, all clinical practice is supervised, ensuring you are provided with the best service possible. Some content of your sessions may be provided within supervision, however, no identifiable information will be shared. The content of your sessions will be briefly documented; however, all records are encrypted and secure. All information shared via the Internet will also be encrypted and secure.

There are rare occasions where it will be my duty to break confidentiality.  This will only occur if I feel there is an immediate risk to you or anyone else. If this is necessary, it will be discussed with you beforehand. You will be made aware of whom the information is to be shared with, and what will be discussed. 

Issues of confidentiality when working online or over the telephone

Let's Talk Online has researched the best online platforms advised for the provision of online therapy. This may mean downloading some new apps on your phone or computer, but once this is done you can be assured that all of your communication is private and secure.

Text messaging via mobile phone is acceptable for appointments and housekeeping issues only.

Any computer files referencing communication are maintained using secure and encrypted measures.

Working online rather than face-to-face also differs in that the client often has a record of communications (e.g. through therapeutic messaging and email). It is important that you are aware that you too are expected to keep our communications confidential and you understand that all records of communication between client and therapist remain the property of Let’s Talk Online. Verbatim material from therapy sessions remain in the client record and should never be revealed publically unless both client and therapist agree.


Missed Appointments and Late Arrivals

If you cannot make a session please let me know, giving me as much warning as you can. Of course, I too will contact you should I need to reschedule in a hurry, but please be assured this seldom happens. Once you have booked a session, the time allocated is yours; if you arrive late your session may still need to end at your regular finishing time. Also, unfortunately, if you need to cancel a session, unless 24 hours’ notice is provided, full payment will still be received because this time has been set aside for you. 

If you need to contact me urgently in-between sessions, then of course I will try and make myself available. Providing this is during office hours and is for a short period of time, there will be no charge. However, if this was to become frequent, it may be suggested that for a time you attend an additional session. 

If we are scheduled for an online synchronous chat, audio or video conference 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 re-connection is not possible, contact me to schedule a new session time.

Limitations of providing online therapy

It is important that you as the client understand that distance therapy is a different experience compared to in-person sessions. It has many advantages, but also has limitations.  Instant messaging and email therapy, lacks “personal” face-to-face interactions, and visual and audio cues in the therapy process to which you may have previously come to expect. You understand that telephone/online psychotherapy is not a substitute for medication under the care of a psychiatrist or doctor, for those who require this kind of additional care.  As is the case in all care of psychological well-being, if a life-threatening crisis should occur, you agree to contact a crisis hotline, or go to a hospital emergency room. 

 

Dr Kristine Abercrombie