Client Rights & Responsibilities
We work with a variety of clients with a wide range of ages between 25-75 years old.
Some of the topics we deal with are:
Grief and loss
Trauma (somatic trauma)
Soon Palliative care
Counselling services rights and responsibilities
Under Australia law, mental health and counselling providers must keep client’s health
information and records confidential. Sandramelopsychoterapist.com counselling services
may consult with other professionals for supervision in order to provide to the client with the best help available.
Records will not be released to any other persons outside the service without the
client’s written consent, using the “Release of Information” form, except in the cases
Confidentiality is limited and disclosure is required, without requirement of client consent,
by state and/or federal law in the following circumstances:
• There is a clear risk of imminent self-harm for the client or a specific, serious threat of risk of physical violence by the client against a specific, clearly identified or identifiable person.
• The counsellor has knowledge or reason to believe that there is physical abuse, neglect, or
sexual abuse of a minor or vulnerable adult.
• Counselling records are subpoenaed by a state court (valid only in the state where the court
sits) or federal court (valid only within the court’s jurisdiction or within 100 miles of the district); or Disclosure is specifically authorized by law.
ACA (Australiana counselling association) framework
ACA is Australia’s largest single registration body for Counsellors and Psychotherapists with
over 9,000 members. ACA serves a crucial role in advocating and advancing the profession of counselling and psychotherapy. ACA regulates counsellors in Australia and has guidelines for the counsellors’ practice.
According to the code of ethics and practices ACA (Australian Counselling Association) https://www.ACA.code of ethics
a. Confidentiality is a means of providing the client with safety and privacy and thus protects client autonomy. For this reason, any limitation on the degree of confidentiality is likely to diminish the effectiveness of counselling.
b. The counselling contract will include any agreement about the level and limits of the confidentiality offered. This agreement can be reviewed and changed by negotiation
between the counsellor and the client. Agreements about confidentiality continue after the client’s death unless there are overriding legal or ethical considerations. In cases
where the client’s safety is in jeopardy any confidentially agreements that may interfere with this safety are to be considered void.
c. Confidentiality extends to client records which must be kept securely – be they maintained as hard copy or by digital processes.
a. Counsellors must ensure that they have taken all reasonable steps to inform the client of any limitations to confidentiality that arise within the setting of the
counselling work, e.g., updating doctors in primary care, team case discussions in agencies. These are made explicit through clear contracting.
b. Many settings place additional specific limitations on confidentiality. Counsellors considering working in these setting must think about the impact of such limitations on their practice and decide whether or not to work in such settings
a. Exceptional circumstances may arise which give the counselor good grounds for believing that serious harm may occur to the client or to other people. In such circumstances, the client’s consent to changes in the agreement about confidentiality should be sought whenever possible unless there are also good
grounds for believing the client is no longer willing or able to take responsibility for his/her actions Normally, the decision to break confidentiality should be discussed with the client and should be made only after consultation with the counseling supervisor or if he/she is not available, an experienced counselor.
b. Any disclosure of confidential information should be restricted to relevant information, conveyed only to appropriate people and for appropriate reasons
likely to alleviate the exceptional circumstances. The ethical considerations include achieving a balance between acting in the best interests of the client and the counsellor’s responsibilities under the law and to the wider community.
c. While counsellors hold different views about grounds for breaking confidentiality, such as potential self-harm, suicide, and harm to others they must also consider those put forward in the ACA code, as they too should imbue their practice. These views should be communicated to both clients and significant others e.g., supervisor, agency, etc.
sandramelopsychoterapist.com Counselling Services stores data in accordance with the Data Protection Act. Counsellors keep their own records of their work, and these notes are held securely and confidentially for six years, after which they are destroyed. These records do not form part of any other record system within the service. The service also stores basic information about each client on a secure and confidential database, which is also kept separate to any other client record system. This information is used to compile aggregate data and monitor the service as a whole. No information that can be traced back to individuals will be released by the counselling service.
a. The Intake process:
The intake is the first contact with the client as part of the assessment process. The assessment is a large part of treatment and continues throughout the course of treatment where the counsellor asses the client on a regular basis. The purpose for this is that as the counsellor becomes more aware of the client’s issues, they can discover more layers of the problem. In many cases, as the client begins to understand and overcome obstacles some other problematic pathological issues might begin to surface. The client might present with issues of depression but during therapy might reveal problems with substance abuse or anxiety. Life factors might also play a part in assessment during therapy. If the client begins to suffer from life altering events such as divorce or family deaths this can also be an important time to assess.
The initial intake and assessment will help the counsellor to interact with the client and obtain general information such as personal details, family and medical history, emergency contacts and the reason for touching based with the service. It will allow the therapist to have a general idea of the current issues that are most important to the client.
This will be an initial time for the client to understand the counselling process and their own role in therapy and decide whether to go ahead with a first session or not.
b. Note taking:
Note taking is not only an ethical Framework and guideline from ACA (Australian Counselling Association) and PACFA (psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia, but also a legal requirement Commonwealth Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) Health Records (Privacy and Access) Act 1997, Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) Health Records Act 2000. Sandramelo.org counselling services work to professional standards by keeping accurate and appropriate records.
The client has a legal right to request their notes under the Health Records Regulations 2002 and the Health Records Act 2001VIC. Client notes may assist either party in the event of a complaint or legal action, serving as a valuable audit trail. They can be useful in facilitating professional reflection as well.
Feedback and Complaints
At Sandramelo.org Counselling Services, we strive for best practices and endeavour to provide our clients with the best possible service. To this end, we encourage clients for comments and feedback so that we can improve our service.
If you have a comment or suggestion about our service, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com or use our contact form.
To make a complaint about the way your enquiry was handled, your counsellor or about your clinical care, then please follow steps below:
1. In the first instance, consider raising your complaint directly with the therapist. A discussion with the counsellor can often help to resolve your concerns and to clarify any misunderstandings that might exist. If you do not have direct contact details for your therapist, please contact sandramelo.org@gmail.
2. If you do not feel comfortable discussing your complaint directly with your therapist, or if you are dissatisfied with the response you receive, you can lodge a formal complaint with your therapist’s professional membership body.
After enquiring the client will receive a free 15-20 minutes phone call (Intake)
This is a quick, meet and greet session to determine whether sandramelopsychoterapist.com counselling services will be the right for you and, that we can support you to work through your challenges. It is so important that the therapeutic relationship is a trusted one and this
session allows the client to tell us in quick summary what you are struggling with, what you need help with and what questions you might have about counselling.
Face to face counselling
In-person, this is designated for adults to process and explore thoughts, emotions and feelings. Face to face allows for greater flexibility with treatment approaches such as
relaxation techniques, meditation, imagery, art therapies. Typically, sessions may occur fortnightly or monthly, however for clients experiencing increased symptoms, you may want weekly sessions.
We have a Covid safe procedures in place for face-to-face sessions
If more than 48 hours’ notice is given to cancel, an opportunity to re-book is available without charge. However, if less than 48 hours’ notice is provided to cancel your counselling session, you will be charged for the full session. Requests to change the session time, must be made with 48 hours + notice.
From time-to-time things crop up un-expectantly and require us to change plans. Provided 48 hours’ notice is given, re-scheduling is possible. Just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com to let us know.
Occasionally emergencies will occur, that will require your counselling session to be adjusted. We will make every endeavour to re-schedule your session at a mutually convenient time.
In sandramelopsychoterapist.com counselling services we are cultural safety by providing an environment which is spiritually, socially and emotionally safe, as well as physically safe for people; where there is no assault, challenge or denial of their identity, of who they are and what they need. We acknowledge the uniqueness of every client and their diversity in their backgrounds; at sandramelopsychoterapist.com counselling services we are a culturally appropriate and
culturally competent and sensitive of the indigenous Australians and first nations people.
sandramelopsychoterapist.com counselling services value the wellbeing of our clients and counsellors, hence we may deny the services to any client who presents intoxicated, by asking them directly to reschedule the appointment and to leave the premises. Depending the severity of the intoxication, we may get in touch with the emergency contact to ensure our clients safety.
We offer English and Spanish sessions
sandramelopsychoterapist.com Counselling services acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the Traditional Custodians of the land and acknowledges and pays respect to their Elders, past and present.
Working Hours: 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM 7 days a week!
Copyright © Sandra Melo Psychotherapist 2021 by Sabana Web