Couples Counselling Contract


Issue May 2018

Please take your time reading through this contract.  It explains how I work and contains useful information you need to be aware of, it also forms the basis of how we agree to work together.  Please feel free to ask questions if you are unclear about anything.  If you decide to work with me we will sign a form to agree the information detailed below.

Counselling Approach, Professional Affiliations, Supervision, Insurance and CPD

My work is informed by a variety of theoretical approaches for which I have undergone extensive training and Accreditation.  As a Registered Member of the BACP (British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy) MBACP (Accred), BACP Reg I abide by the BACP Ethics for Counselling Professionals BACP Ethical Framework.  This includes following their guidelines in respect to my Continued Professional Development (CPD) and regular attendance of Supervision with an appropriately qualified Supervisor.  I hold both Professional Indemnity and Public Liability Insurance.

Contact Between Sessions

 Contact between sessions will be limited to practical arrangements only.  I am unable to enter into telephone, text or e-mail support in between sessions or during periods of annual leave.  As we are undertaking Couple Counselling, all correspondence will be sent to both of you.

Commitment to Counselling – Session Frequency & Length

Counselling requires a considerable amount of commitment & responsibility on your part in order for it to be effective.   My commitment & responsibility to you is to set aside a weekly time & space which will allow us to engage effectively in the therapeutic process.  If you feel unsure about making this commitment, have any concerns or have any doubts as to whether counselling is for you please discuss them with me.  Sessions take place weekly at the agreed venue and start and end at the same time on the same day each week.  All sessions (including the Assessment Session) last for 50 minutes.  As you are undertaking couple counselling the session will not begin until you have both arrived, except when we have previously agreed another approach. I am not able to extend sessions if you arrive late, the session will end at the designated time and the full fee is charged.


The Assessment process is an important part of the work and enables us to ascertain if counselling is the best form of support for you. This process is an opportunity for you to tell me what brings you to counselling, what issues you are experiencing, what you feel needs to be addressed and what you hope to get from the counselling – ie the focus of our work together.  In turn I will need to ask some practical/administrative questions, explain how I work (confidentiality, boundaries etc) as well as gather some general history about yourselves and about your relationship and how you see things.  We can discuss whether you would like open ended or short term therapy.  You will be able to ask me questions about the counselling process at any time.  We then decide whether to proceed or not with the counselling.  If we decide not to proceed or if I believe it more beneficial for you if you seek counselling with a specialised organisation or another person I will be happy to help direct you to another organisation or counselling directory as appropriate.  We can do the Assessment process as a ONE Session Assessment or as a FOUR Session Assessment, where you will be offered an individual session each, during your individual sessions you will have the opportunity to tell me things you may wish the other person in the relationship to not know about.  This will remain confidential between the 2 of us.

Domestic Violence

If at any point during the Assessment or once the counselling has started you disclose that there have been repeated issues of Domestic Violence we will agree to halt the Counselling Sessions and put in place a safety plan. This will ensure the safety of both parties is in place before resuming the counselling process.

Confidentiality & Social Media

Information disclosed during our sessions is treated confidentially.  Legally I may have no choice but to report information you disclose to me (eg child protection issues, drug trafficking, disclosure or knowledge of criminal activity, threats of terrorism, instruction by Court to disclose information). Should the need arise to inform an external agency (eg GP) I would endeavour to discuss this with you during our sessions such that prior consent is obtained on your part.  Although extremely unlikely an occasion may occur when I feel it is appropriate to break our confidentiality, I reserve the right to do so without consent.  This might include the possibility of a very serious risk of harm or violence to yourself or others; or a risk of suicide. I do not accept Social Networking friend requests as this would compromise the boundaries of our therapeutic relationship. However you are free to follow my Professional Facebook Page and Business Twitter Profile.


In order to support me and in line with the requirements of my Insurance and Professional body, I keep written confidential notes under secure conditions which remain my property and responsibility and will be destroyed after 7 years.  Your information will not be shared, with 3rd parities, subject to the limitations detailed in the Confidentiality section.  You may access your notes at any time you wish and request that any corrections be made.  If you are seeing me through your EAP or Insurance Company, I may be required to provide notes in accordance with their requirements, these remain their property and in these circumstances request for notes must be made through the EAP or Insurance Company. You have the right to withdraw your consent for such records to be kept such request must be made in writing and be signed.  As we are undertaking Couple work, requests must be agreed by both parties.

 Electronic Data

There may be occasions where I need to keep electronic data on my PC, or Mobile Phones, this may include reports for EAPs and Insurance Companies (see above); e-mail correspondence regarding appointments or useful information you have agreed I can send you as part of our work together, photographs of work we have done together on the whiteboard for ongoing reference during our work, your phone contact details and those of a Next of Kin where you have agreed to supply one.  This information will be deleted on completion of our work together.  I do not pass on these details to 3rd parties for marketing purposes.  I am the registered Data Controller with the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) for Shirley Baxter Counselling.

 Cancelled Sessions & Missed Sessions (DNA – Did Not Attend)

I have a 48 hour cancellation policy.  If you cancel with 48 hours notice you will not be charged for the cancelled session. The full fee is charged for sessions cancelled with less than 48 hours notice and is payable the next time you attend your session.  If possible I will offer you the opportunity to reschedule a session prior to your next planned session.   If you fail to turn up for a session (DNA) without giving notice you will be charged the full rate, payable at your next session.

Halting Sessions

As we are contracting to do Couple Counselling, it will not be possible to do a full 50 minute session if only one of you attends (without prior arrangement), the full fee is charged.

If I feel you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs and incapable of functioning in a manner that is considered safe I will halt the session, the full fee is charged.

Breaks & Endings

* Breaks & Endings (whether planned or unexpected) need to be carefully managed within the counselling relationship and within the therapeutic work we undertake together I will therefore undertake to give you as much notice as possible of my planned breaks and I ask that you give me sufficient notice of any breaks you intend taking during our work together.  If you are thinking of ending I would ask you to talk about this in the session, it is important that we allow sufficient time to work towards an effective and satisfactory ending which enables us to honour the relationship and the work we have undertaken together and ensures we summarise and review the work effectively.

Fees & Payment

* All sessions (Including the Assessment & any session where we agree you will be seen individually) are charged at £60.00.

* Requests to supply letters or reports to third parties at their or your (joint) request will be charged at the hourly rate.

* Payment is by cash or cheque made out to SHIRLEY BAXTER (I am unable to accept debit or credit cards).

* Fees are subject to annual review

BACP Shirley Baxter Counselling
ACBS Shirley Baxter Counselling

“There are things known and there are things unknown and inbetween are the doors of perception”

Aldous Huxley

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