Counselling with Jenny Poirier



Will what I say be Confidential?


I treat all information disclosed to me as confidential. Any information my supervisor receives is also treated as confidential, protecting any personally identifiable and sensitive information.
Before coming for your first session I will ask for some basic details; name, date of birth, address, phone number and GP details and brief details of what is bringing you to therapy.
Should I feel you might either be a danger to yourself or others, I may be obliged to inform an outside agency, eg. a GP, but would try, whenever possible, to discuss this with you first.
I keep brief written notes of a summary of each session to aid my memory and for supervision purposes. These are kept in a locked file at my home. Notes are kept for 7 years after the last session and are then securely shredded. I am the Data Controller for information stored and am registered with the ICO. There are some rare circumstances in which data may be shared with other agencies (e.g. immediate risk of substantial harm to self or others; or under a legal requirement, e.g. terrorism, drug money laundering; or via court order for disclosure)



What is supervision?

Supervision is a form of consultative support for counsellors to discuss their work regularly with someone who is experienced in counselling and qualified in counselling supervision. The task is to work together to ensure and develop the efficacy of the counsellor/client relationship. Any information my supervisor receives is treated as confidential protecting any personally identifiable and sensitive information.



How often and for how long will I need to come?

Appointments are usually weekly, on the same day and at the same time each week unless there are particular problems with this eg shift work. Sessions last for one hour.

I offer all prospective clients an assessment session (the same fee is charged as for an ongoing session).This provides both of us with the opportunity of deciding if we wish to work together. We could then agree on an initial number of sessions and at the end of this period review the situation again or you may prefer to work 'open ended'.
If it is decided not to continue working together I will attempt to provide, wherever possible, alternative counsellors or agencies to contact.

The number of sessions depends on what you are bringing to counselling. Some people find that 6 sessions are enough while others may prefer to look at things in more depth or have on going support and have longer term counselling. If you decide you wish to finish counselling I appreciate you telling me so we can have at least one session to end our work.



How much will it cost?

My fee for sessions (both ongoing and assessment sessions) is £60 per one hour appointment.
COVID-19 has meant that many people are on reduced incomes, please ask about fee reductions if you are affected.

Payment by an individual is made by bank transfer and details of this will be emailed to you on booking. Payment should reach my bank account before the session so should be made the day before. The session cannot take place if payment is not made.



How do I make an appointment?

If you would like to make an appointment or ask me any questions, please contact me either by e-mail or by telephone on 07976 209786. There is a confidential voicemail if I am unable to take your call. All messages will be responded to as soon as I can but please bear in mind that I may be with clients so cannot always reply immediately. Please note that I do not work at weekends however you are welcome to leave me a message or text and I will reply on the next working day.



What happens at an appointment?

The first 'assessment' appointment is a chance for us to meet and discuss the issues that you want to bring and what you would like to get out of coming for counselling and I will explain a bit about how I work. I will want to get an outline of your background and history and your current situation and symptoms.
I may spend some time working with you to create some resources for you before we begin working on your concerns. I will listen and ask some questions to help you talk, I don't just sit in silence.
It is important for us to both feel comfortable working together.
If we decide to go ahead with further appointments, we would agree a time to meet, usually weekly.
There is no obligation to continue. Sometimes a person may decide that counselling is not for them or it may be more appropriate for you to contact another organisation or counsellor.

In the course of hearing more about your concerns it may emerge that you need a therapist with a different skillset to mine and I may need to suggest you see an alternative therapist in this case. It may be that this only becomes apparent after a few sessions together as it can take more than one session to gain a full sense a person's history..

Some people find it helpful to have an initial appointment with more than one counsellor and then make a decision as to who they feel most comfortable with.

I am offering sessions both face to face (while COVID regulations allow) and online sessions via Zoom . Online sessions can be as effective as meeting face to face, so long as you follow the sensible tips below. My goal is to create a safe and contained space to work with you.

TIPS

Please make sure that:

1.
You have your computer or mobile set up with Zoom, Skype or Whats app before the session commences. This includes having your microphone and video turned on.
2.
Your computer or mobile is positioned at a sensible height so that I can clearly see your face and that the camera is at eye level. If several people will be participating, please make sure that I can see everyone clearly.
3.
It is very easy to hear background noises e.g. animals and washing machines and kettles etc. so please make sure you are in a quiet location.
4.
You will not be disturbed for the duration of the session and that the door to the room you are sitting in is closed.
5.
If you are using your computer, In case the connection drops please have your mobile nearby with the sound muted so that it is not a distraction.
6.
You do not have your back to a window or light – this can make it very hard for me to see you clearly.
7.
That there is adequate lighting in the room you are in.
8.
You have a box of tissues nearby.
9.
You have a glass of water nearby.
10.
You have not been drinking alcohol or taking drugs before any sessions where they may still be in your body.
11.
You join the meeting at the agreed time.
12.
Give yourself space before and after a session to transition back to your day as you will not have a journey to and from sessions as usual.
13.
Sometimes people use headphones during online sessions. I have so far found that if we can both create a quiet space then there is no need for headphones. I have also observed that if one person has headphones and the other doesn’t, then this can make the sound less effective.


You may also find it helpful to read these web pages published by BACP on 'Finding a Therapist'.



When are you available?

I offer daytime appointments in Muswell Hill, subject to availability on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays



How do I make the most of counselling?

You can get the best results by:

  • being open
  • saying how you are really feeling
  • giving me honest feedback on how you experience the counselling, what is helpful and if there is anything you don't like. Click here to go to a feedback form

    Good counselling should feel safe and enable you to talk about things that you may not feel able to talk about to family and friends.



  • Will I be charged for missed sessions?

    Coming for counselling is a commitment and regularity is important for productive therapeutic work. The standard format of weekly sessions helps you make gradual and steady progress.

    When making a counselling contract with someone, I set aside that time for them on a regular basis and can't offer someone else that slot as they need their own ongoing appointment time.

    There may be some occasions when I can offer an alternative appointment time but I can't guarantee this due to other working commitments.

    For this reason, I do ask for a weekly commitment to attending for counselling and reserve the right to charge a cancellation fee if less than 24 hours notice is given (by friday for a monday appointment).

    I may be able to offer an online or phone appointment instead if you could do this in place of attending a face to face session.



    What if I have a complaint?

    If you are unhappy about anything arising from your counselling please talk to me first or email me . If we cannot resolve the matter you have the right to complain to my professional body BACP.
    You can also Click here to go to a feedback form



    What about data privacy?

    General Data Protection Regulation

    Under the latest data privacy laws you have the right:
    •to access a copy and explanation of personal data

    •to request correction or erasure, in certain circumstances

    •to request limiting or ceasing data processing, where applicable

    •to compensation for substantial damage or distress caused by data processing, where applicable

    You can click on the link to read my Privacy Notice



    How do I give you feedback about my experience?

    To leave feedback about your experience of counselling please Click here to go to a feedback form
    This can be anonymous but if you want a response just leave your name and email address



    Ongoing evolving situation with the COVID-19 virus

    I am currently offering sessions via by video link. There are several ways of doing this so I propose an initial phone call to ascertain what methods you might be familiar with already.

    Video apps that can be used include:

    Zoom https://zoom.us/

    Skype https://web.skype.com/

    WhatsApp https://web.whatsapp.com/

    Depending on your device it may be better to use headphones whilst using a video link as this will give better sound quality.
    Sessions would be at the same fee and I will be working from my counselling room to ensure privacy.
    I would also ask you to honour my 24-hour cancellation policy.

    You may want to consider:

    whether it will be possible for you to have a place of privacy in your own home to receive a call or video session. Perhaps other members of the household could take their exercise outside while you have your session.

    Having a comfortable place to sit

    Giving yourself space before and after a session to transition back to your day

    Having a drink and tissues to hand

    Whether to use a laptop or phone screen for a video session; it’s helpful to be able to place the camera for your device at eye level a comfortable distance away so I can see your upper body.

    If I become ill myself I will, if possible, let you know in advance of a booked session.

    Regarding confidentiality, I treat all information disclosed to me as confidential within the confines of the law and consistent with the codes of the BACP. This clause may become relevant with in person sessions; if I contract the virus and am obliged to inform the NHS of people I've been in contact with.
    BACP guidance for Counsellors regarding COVID-19 states that this would be a necessary breach of confidentiality, for reasons of public interest in the area of public health. In this case, I may need to share your name and contact details but not the context in which I know you. However, you may be contacted by the NHS who will provide support and testing.

    I am very sorry for the inconvenience this may cause but my priority is for the welfare of clients, some of whom may be immunosuppressed.

    Working in a new way will require an amount of flexibility as we both get used to this new way of working and there may be initial ‘teething troubles’ as we get used to the technology.

    This is a difficult and anxiety provoking time for everyone. You may like to read this advice about coping with anxiety: https://www.bacp.co.uk/news/news-from-bacp/2020/28-february-coronavirus-anxiety-how-to-cope-if-you-re-feeling-anxious-about-the-outbreak/

    There are also resources on my website to help with managing stress and anxiety: http://www.jennypoiriercounselling.co.uk/phdi/p1.nsf/supppages/1757?opendocument&part=6#pgmk13



    What safety precautions are in place for COVID?


    In person sessions are only being offered currently if you feel that online sessions are not possible for you or if you have a strong preference for in person sessions. Where possible sessions should be conducted online to minimise risk.

    If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 (CHECK SYMPTOMS), or have been asked to self isolate, then you must not attend your face to face appointment. Please notify Jenny prior to your appointment and you will be offered an online or telephone appointment instead or the opportunity to reschedule if needed.

    If you have come into contact with a person with COVID or COVID symptoms please inform me.

    COVID-19 implications for confidentiality
    Usually, I treat all information disclosed to me as confidential within the confines of the law and consistent with the codes of the BACP. This clause may become relevant if I contract the virus and am obliged to inform the NHS of people I've been in contact with.
    BACP guidance for Counsellors regarding COVID-19 states that this would be a necessary breach of confidentiality, for reasons of public interest in the area of public health. In this case, I may need to share your name and contact details but not the context in which I know you. However, you may be contacted by the NHS who will provide support and testing.

    If there is a resurgence of the pandemic or if other health concerns arise, however, I may require that we meet online (Zoom or Skype) or by phone for everyone’s well-being. If you have concerns about meeting online, we will talk about it first and try to address any issues. Alternatively’ we can pause sessions.
    If you decide at any time that you would feel safer staying with or returning to, online services, I will respect that decision, as long as it is feasible and clinically appropriate.

    Risks of Opting for In-Person Services
    You understand that by coming to the counselling room, you are assuming the risk of exposure to the coronavirus (or other public health risks). This risk may increase if you travel by public transportation.

    Alternative options for therapy sessions:
    I am happy to offer online or telephone therapy sessions to anyone who requests it regardless of whether you have symptoms.
    Please contact me in advance if you wish to arrange an online session and I will send you a link to access this service. I prefer to use a secure GDPR-compliant online platform called Zoom (https://zoom.us/).

    Arrangements in the Therapy room
    •Clients are requested to bring and wear a face mask in hallways unless they are exempt from wearing one.

    •I will be wearing a face mask in hallways where social distancing can't be maintained. If preferred by the client I will wear a mask in session.

    •Chair placing will be further apart than usual in order to maintain social distancing. This will be approximately 2 metres apart

    •Physical contact is not permitted

    •Hand sanitiser will be available to use in the porch on arrival and available in the counselling room

    •The environment will be thoroughly cleaned in between clients with particular attention to touched surfaces, banister rails, door handles and light switches.

    •Seat covers will be changed between clients

    •Bins will be emptied between clients

    •An electric air purifier will be in use in the room continuously

    •Ventilation will be provided via a window or French doors, please dress warmly to allow for this

    •Please bring your own water or warm drink if needed

    •Separate tissues will be provided if needed for each client

    •EMDR equipment (hand held buzzers) will be wiped down with alcohol before and after use

    •Common areas and bathroom will be cleaned on a regular basis.



    What you should do if you are symptomatic:
    If you are experiencing any coronavirus symptoms, however mild, such as a new persistent cough or fever, you should not attend your upcoming appointment.
    Please contact me via E-mail, text or leave a voicemail on - 07097209786
    In these circumstances, we can either suspend sessions until you are ready to resume or sessions can continue online.

    What I will do if I or anyone in the setting where I practice is symptomatic:
    In these circumstances, I will contact you without delay via telephone or E-mail. If you have recently changed your e-mail or telephone number, please notify me of any changes. If it is possible to offer an online session I will do so. Alternatively, we will reschedule the appointment.

    You will be informed following the period of self-isolation when the practice re-opens.

    Review Process:
    The above procedure will be reviewed on a regular basis and may change at short notice based on government guidelines. I will continue to keep you updated on any further actions regarding this matter.





    For general counselling, bereavement counselling, cancer counselling and EMDR by a Registered BACP Accredited counsellor in Muswell Hill N10, North London

    07976 209786
    + e-mail

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