Time to Listen logo

Logon

We specialise in working with children, young people and families, but also provide counselling for adults

Counselling and Therapeutic Agreement for Parents/Carers/Guardian for a Child’s Individual Therapy

Introduction

Counselling provides the opportunity to talk about things that are of concern, in confidence, with a qualified Counsellor. What is spoken about will depend on the individual, but common themes are stress, relationships, change, loss and distressing, traumatic events. Our Counsellors are professionally qualified with experience of working with children and young people. They are trained to listen without judging and to help children and young people sort out their thoughts and feelings about whatever is concerning them.

Few of us are able to work well when we are stressed or unhappy. The impact of distressing or difficult situations can be felt even more acutely by children and young people than by adults. Our experience is that young people find counselling useful in the same way as adults. If children and young people are able to receive emotional support from a qualified professional they will have greater opportunity to fulfil their potential. Counselling may be for a few sessions, or longer term, each session lasting 50 minutes. It is reviewed regularly between the Counsellor and the young person.

Just because your child is accessing counselling does not mean that you have failed as a parent/guardian. We all experience occasions when it feels hard to speak to those closest to us about things which are bothering us. Often this can be because we don’t want to worry those we love best, or because we want help thinking things through with someone who is not personally connected. The Counsellor will not be judging you or your child but looking to help them find their way through whatever is troubling them.

Our experience shows that the most helpful thing a parent can do is to show an acceptance of counselling as a normal and useful activity, and to show an interest if your son / daughter wishes to talk about it, but not to press them if they don’t.

Confidentiality

An essential feature of counselling is that the information disclosed is treated confidentially. It enables the young person to open up and share feelings without fear of blame or reprisals. It is also a time when it is acceptable to talk about concerns without fear of them being discussed elsewhere. This includes not discussing the work with parents / carers / guardians, unless the young person specifically requests or gives consent for this. We acknowledge that this isn’t an easy situation for you, and it is quite natural for you to feel anxious about what may be being said in the sessions. However, ensuring the confidentiality of the work is crucial for establishing trust so that the young person feels confident to speak openly and freely about what is concerning them. A young person’s right to privacy and confidentiality is legally established in the Human Rights Act 1998 article 8.

Although the contents of the sessions will be confidential within the counselling service, we require the right to breach confidentiality in some specific circumstances:

  • The young person requests, and feels that it is within their best interest, that certain information be passed on.
  • For the purpose of Counsellor supervision, which is a regular meeting to make sure that the Counsellor is working in a safe and effective manner.
  • Circumstances where the Counsellor has sufficient grounds to believe that the young person is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm.
  • If the young person discloses that they are aware of significant harm of another person.
  • In the event that the young person is under a Care Order, or when child protection issues arise, the Counsellor, with the permission of the young person, may attend case conferences and continue to honour the confidentiality contract.
  • As a response to a Court Order instructing the disclosure of information

Please note: If your child appears be at risk of significant harm we have a statutory duty to co-operate with local authorities and other agencies, in child protection processes including information sharing. It may be appropriate to seek help from other agencies to keep them safe, as well. The Counsellor would discuss this first with your child and if appropriate yourselves. If there is a concern that a child (or children) may be at risk of serious harm and the therapist does not have consent to make a referral either from the child concerned or from yourselves / person with parental responsibility for the child, then the therapist will have to decide whether to make a referral anyway, without consent, in the public interest, to safeguard your child or others. The therapist would seek advice for Time to Listen’s Safeguarding Lead.

Monitoring, Review and Evaluation

If your child’s sessions are being funded through a charitable grant such as the National Lottery Community Fund or Children in Need, for example we are required to provide information with regards to attendance and the effectiveness of the therapeutic intervention provided. This feedback is provided through an anonymised project evaluation report. No identifiable details will be included.

If your child’s sessions are being funded through the Adoption Support Fund (ASF) or another fund arranged through your family’s allocated Social Worker, Time to Listen are likely to be contractually committed to holding Planning and Review Meetings involving yourself / selves as parents / carers / guardians along with the Social Worker. The Social Worker will also

expect Therapy Review Reports from your Counsellor at agreed points throughout the therapy (often mid-way and end-points). Your Counsellor will explain and discuss this with you and ensure you are fully involved in this process. This is usual practice to ensure your child’s needs are being adequately fulfilled.

Your child’s Counsellor will expect your child to complete an age-appropriate Client Evaluation Questionnaire at early, mid and end-stages their sessions. It is very important that you encourage, and if necessary, support your child to provide their feedback. The evaluations will determine how satisfied they felt about the help they received from their Counsellor throughout all stages of their therapeutic experience and what they feel our service needs to improve on. The evaluations are available as a paper and online evaluation forms. A paper copy can be provided by the Counsellor and the online version is available via https://www.timetolisten.co.uk.

All completed evaluations will be collated, analysed and reviewed in an anonymous way, in order to determine whether Time to Listen are meeting service standards and, where relevant, project objectives and what, if any areas may require further improvement. An anonymised summary of client evaluations will be used to inform Project Evaluation Reports when therapy has been funded through a charitable grant such as the National Lottery Community Fund or Children in Need.

To provide a holistic evaluation of this intervention and to learn and improve upon our service as we go along the therapist or Project Administrator (for charitable funded intervention), with your and your child’s consent, may ask others involved for feedback to help demonstrate how our work makes a difference to the lives of children, young people, parents / carers / guardians and families as a whole. This may involve speaking to your child’s school, a worker from a statutory or charity organisation (such as a Family Support Worker, Social Worker, Early Help Worker, if involved) or another close family member such as an aunt or grandparent. This would involve asking any person/s identified between yourself, your child and the Counsellor what difference they think the interventions being offered by Time to Listen are making.

Recording of Sessions

Sometimes we need to record sessions and to use (anonymous) case material for the purposes of supervision, therapist’s training and research. All such material is treated with your confidentiality and respect. We will not do this without asking you and gaining your permission.

Notes of the sessions are kept on an internal, secure electronic record keeping system, in line with current data protection regulations. Only the allocated therapist involved and Time to Listen’s organisational management (for supervision and auditing purposes) have access to these. This information will be held for seven years and then disposed of in an appropriate manner that ensures the preservation of confidentiality. All records and information remain the property of Time to Listen.

Complaints

The service works within the Ethical Framework of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and within DDP Connects UK. If there is any cause for complaint, you are welcome to contact the therapist or Time to Listen’s Operational Service Manager who will try to resolve any issues of concern. The Operational Service Manager can be contacted via Email: admin@timetolisten.co.uk or be telephone: 07920 036737. Alternatively, you can access our compliments and complaints procedures on our website at https://www.timetolisten.co.uk.

Cancellation Policy

  • We request 24 hours’ notice for cancellation of AFPT sessions.
  • Late cancellations (with less than 24 hours’ notice) or failure to attend an appointment will incur the full session fee.
  • If your sessions are being funded through a charitable grant such as the National Lottery Community Fund they will incur a £55 late cancellation fee. An invoice will be sent to yourself for recovery of these funds.

Remote/Online Sessions

Some of your DDP sessions (usually only those that are not involving your child / children) may be delivered through remote, online sessions if this is more convenient or should heightened restrictions be re-introduced due to the COVID pandemic.

The following provides you with some practical information to help you understand what to expect with online sessions and also provide some tips to make sure the process runs smoothly:-

It might feel scary or uncertain to have some sessions online but they can be as effective as meeting face to face, so long as you follow the tips below.  Our goal is to create a safe and contained space to work with you. We have carried out numerous sessions or meetings online with positive effect. If there are some materials/documents that we need to use for the sessions (e.g., handouts, practical exercises), the therapist will make sure that they have emailed this through to you before the session.

Different services we can use:

Zoom

Our current preferred online service is Zoom. This is an encrypted service and is free for you to access and download: https://www.zoom.us
A video on how to use Zoom is here: 

https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201362193-Joining-a-Meeting

If we are using Zoom you will be sent an email requesting that you join the session. Please make sure that the therapist has your correct email before the session. If you click on the link it will take you to Zoom and you can then connect with the therapist. Alternatively, you may be emailed before the session which contains a meeting number.  When you open Zoom, it will ask you to enter the meeting number so that you can join the therapist.  Please do NOT join the meeting until the agreed time.

Mobile phone

Another alternative is using your mobile phone and if you have iPhone FaceTime.  Please make sure that the therapist has the correct number to contact you on in advance of the session.

Here are some useful tips for remote / online sessions

Please make sure that:

  1. You have your computer or mobile set up with Zoom or WhatsApp 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 the therapist can clearly see your face and that the camera is at eye level.  
  3. It is very easy to hear and be distracted by background noises such as pets, TV, Radio, washing machines and kettles 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, you have your mobile nearby just in case the sound is poor when using Zoom. In such cases it is possible to stay connected to Zoom, with the microphone muted, whilst speaking through the mobile with the speaker switched on.
  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 do NOT record the sessions.  The therapist will not be recording any of the sessions UNLESS you have been asked and given prior consent and this has been mutually discussed and agreed and a consent form has been signed by you.
  12. You will NOT let anyone else listen in to any part of the online session (via phone or any other technical device or in person) without prior agreement with Time to Listen and the therapist
  13. Using headphones can increase your privacy and confidentiality as other people cannot overhear the two-way conversation.
  14. You join the meeting at the agreed time.

Policy for Continuity of Therapy Support

Time to Listen CIC requires a clear commitment to regular, scheduled and consistent counselling or therapy. We will not accept or agree to any extended interruptions in the counselling / therapy process above and beyond a two-week planned period (to allow for a family holiday, for example). Sessions will not be ‘put-on-hold’ for any duration beyond this two-week agreed period unless a retainer fee is provided.  The retainer fee will be 50% of the agreed session fee for each session that is requested to be kept 'on hold’. The retainer payments must be paid on a monthly basis within our payment terms and conditions as stipulated within our invoicing. Within a ‘retainer’ situation when you are unable to attend sessions either face to face or remotely for a period beyond a two-week interruption in your regular and scheduled pattern of sessions, a clear plan will be agreed and documented between yourselves and your Counsellor with regard to maintaining an appropriate level and form of contact and a timescale for re-starting your DDP sessions. Alternatively, you could seek a re-referral into the service at a future time but we would not be able to provide any guarantee that we could offer sessions with the same DDP trained therapist or the same appointment day or time due to the demands upon the service.

Should unexpected circumstances arise and your child’s therapeutic support needs to be discontinued for any reason, the Counsellor will discuss with you and your child how best an ending to the therapeutic process can be facilitated. Abrupt endings can be very difficult to process alone and can be particularly difficult for anyone of any age who is experiencing relational difficulties due to early childhood adverse experiences. Feelings of regret, loss, disappointment, resentment, shame, rejection and abandonment are very common and understandable in this situation. Furthermore, discontinuity of therapy and unplanned endings can create a sense of mistrust in the therapeutic process as well as unhelpful psychological barriers for re-engagement in any future therapeutic support, especially for children and young people who have been engaging in the therapeutic process. Unforeseen and unplanned interruptions and endings can significantly delay progress towards the anticipated therapeutic goals / outcomes.  Therefore, the most desired reason for ending therapy is that your child has achieved their intended goals / outcomes. 

As our counsellors work within a relational approach, they regard endings to be an equally essential part of the therapeutic process to be worked through. The Counsellor will discuss with you any recommendations they may have for addressing any ongoing therapeutic needs your child may have within the therapeutic ending process.

Signed Agreement

If after reading this information, you have any more questions please contact your child’s allocated Counsellor. Please use the link below to download the form as a pdf, complete the fields and return via email using the link in the pdf below the form.

Parents_Agreement_Form_for_Child’s_Individual_Sessions.pdf 

Funding grants successfully awarded from the following have enabled Time to Listen to thrive and grow as an essential therapeutic service despite the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding has enabled Time to Listen to continue being responsive to the needs of our local communities.

safer hull logoBBC Children in Need logo