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What is a Therapy Agreement?

Does your private practice have a GDPR compliant Therapy Agreement? Establishing and enforcing rules can be intimidating, but it’s the client’s right to know the terms and conditions of the therapy they’re investing in. Agreeing on things in advance also creates a solid foundation of trust and respect from which therapy can begin. So, where do you start? You could skip straight to a handy ‘done for you’ template HERE or keep reading to find out more if you are creating your own.

What is a Therapy Agreement?

A Therapy Agreement is a contract of sorts that outlines relevant rights and responsibilities, for both yourself and the client to abide by throughout therapy sessions. It defines how you will work together within the therapeutic alliance, and it ensures clients have given ‘informed consent and agreement’.

Without a Therapy Agreement, misunderstandings can arise. Sometimes, this can lead to complaints being made against you. In other words, clear contract-making may help alleviate some potential sources of grievances.

What Should It Include?

Although it does not need to be a lengthy document, writing a Therapy Agreement for your private practice can be tricky and time-consuming. After GDPR compliance, you need to ensure it outlines all the important aspects of what the client can expect.

Here are a few things you should consider including:

Therapy sessions length, cost and cancellation policy – Outline how they can rearrange or cancel an appointment and where it will take place (i.e. online or in-person).

Personal information – When you request personal information (such as any medication the client uses and their GP surgery details), the client has a right to know why this information is needed, under what circumstances it may be used, and how it will be securely stored.

The Data Protection Act 2018 sets out the legal requirements for anyone who processes data about people in the UK. We also need to abide by GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), which is the European regulation setting out the main principles of data protection and the responsibilities that organisations and practitioners have when handling personal data. It is important therefore that you are clear about why you are asking for clients’ information and how you will protect it.

Record keeping – Clients should understand therapists may find it useful to take notes during sessions. Explain these tend to be brief and designed to help them keep track of topics/themes covered in therapy. Highlight the fact notes are kept in a locked cabinet or in password-protected documents on practitioner computers in accordance with the data protection act and GDPR.

Details of supervision – You should explain therapists are required by their profession to have regular supervision sessions where they discuss aspects of their clinical work. Emphasise that they do not reveal individual identities during these sessions and supervision itself is confidential between therapist and supervisor.

How to make a complaint – Give details of your professional body, their code of ethics and the process for submitting a complaint.

Confidentiality – You should explain confidentiality will be maintained within the codes of ethics and legal requirements. You should also state when confidentiality rules do not apply, for example where it would mean you might break the law or where withholding information means you would breach the codes of ethics.

Done For You Therapy Agreement

This is by no means an exhaustive list, so I think you’ll agree there’s a lot to think about! If the prospect of figuring this out on your own is overwhelming, you might be interested in Pocketsite’s ‘done for you’ GDPR compliant Therapy Agreement. Like all Pocketsite products, it’s designed to take the stress out of an essential business task so you can concentrate on supporting your clients.

As well as full guidance and notes, it also comes with:

– Advice on getting content via email

– Advice on getting consent for children

– A template for consent to share information with a third party

Purchase and Find Out More

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Sarah Rees

Sarah is a fully accredited Cognitive Behavioural Therapist and mental health writer delivering Modern Mental Health for you and with you in Mind. Sarah is the author of ‘The CBT Journal’ which helps you write for your wellbeing incorporating CBT techniques. For more information and to keep in touch have a look at sarahdrees.co.uk.