What is a Counselling Contract?

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What is a Counselling Contract?
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FAQ: What is a Counselling Contract?

A counselling contract (or counselling agreement) is a paper document that Dean Richardson will give you at the end of the first session. The document details what we have spoken about in the first session. It’s an ethical approach to help you make an informed decision about working with Dean in counselling.


It’s not unusual for anyone to find the first session with a counsellor contains quite a lot of information.

  • What does confidentiality mean.
  • What we can talk about in counselling.
  • When will we meet (and when we don’t – like holidays).
  • How will you pay.
  • What happens when you cancel a session (do you still pay the session fee).

… lots of information!

Having things to remember can be especially tough if the client is emotionally distressed.

As a counsellor, Dean will give a verbal overview of counselling arrangements, then give the details it printed form. We call the document a Counselling Contract.

Dean Richardson’s counselling contract includes:

  • An overview of the counselling – what sort of treatment is being offered to you.
  • Confidentiality – what it means in counselling and where the law may override confidentiality (and where is does not).
  • How long the counselling will last (if applicable).
  • How the counselling will end.
  • The counsellor’s qualifications, professional memberships, insurance information, and who you could go to to complain if you are not happy with the therapist.
  • Information about fees and how to pay.
  • Information about missed sessions (e.g. is the next session automatically available or do you have to book it with the counsellor).
  • How are your fees affected by missed sessions (when you do and do not have to pay).
  • Information about contacting the counsellor outside of session time.
  • Information about boundaries – such as if online/social network contact is appropriate or not outside of the counselling session.
  • When the sessions are held, how they are arranged (regularly, ad hoc, pre-arranged weekly etc).
  • Any fire alarm drills or procedures and other health and safety information.

… Dean will invite you to read through the document at home, and you and Dean will sign the document when you’ve make an informed decision to continue with counselling.

If you enter counselling with someone else, and the counsellor does not given you a written contract/agreement (or explain the arrangements), you can always ask for a copy of their contract or ask what the counsellors expects of you if you have not received one (including what if you have questions in the future).

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