Statement of Understanding

Please read this Statement of Understanding carefully. Be sure to ask me to explain anything you do not understand or that you may have concerns about.

Elisabeth van Assum Counselling believes that counselling services should be accessible to everyone. As such, I am committed to providing a friendly, safe, and welcoming environment for all, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic situation, religion or ethnicity.

To facilitate a successful counselling experience, it is important that clients understand what is involved in the counselling process and therapeutic relationship. It is most helpful when both the counsellor and the client have a good understanding of their rights and responsibilities. From this mutual understanding, a comfortable working relationship and safe environment can be created.

The purpose of this Statement of Understanding is to provide clarification of what you may expect from me and what may be expected of clients. My primary goal of counselling is your well-being. If you have any questions or concerns about the nature and course of your counselling process, please let me know.

Appointments:

Individual appointments are 50 minutes in length, unless we agree on another duration. I value you as a client and your appointment is held exclusively for you. It is important that you arrive on time. Please understand that if you are late, your appointment cannot be extended.

It is always the client’s responsibility to keep track of their appointments and inform me when they need to cancel any sessions they have scheduled.

I believe in empowering my clients and that it benefits them to take full responsibility for their calendar. I do however as a courtesy sent notification 24 hours and 2 hours before our session.

If you are running late for your appointment please call and leave a voice message if there is no answer. This is especially important for sessions booked after the building closes at 5:00 pm. This will ensure that I know you are on your way and will wait for you.

Cancellations:

I want to provide the best service possible for all my clients. I also want to ensure that we are utilizing my time in the most efficient and effective way possible. There are usually clients on a waiting/cancellation list who would be happy to come in earlier. By providing proper notice of cancellation you give me the opportunity to serve those clients to receive the help they need. You are also ensure you are not charged for a missed session that you will not benefit from.

I have a 48 hour cancellation period and will charge my full amount for missed sessions that are cancelled within the 48 hour window. If there is an emergency I will not charge you for the lost time as I understand life happens and unavoidable circumstances take place.

Again If you do not show up for your appointment, you will be charged your full fee

For clients covered by EAPs that do not pay for no-shows you will be required to pay for any missed appointments or late cancellations.

Please leave a voice message if you are unable to get in touch with me directly. I will always respond either by phone or email that your message has been received confirming that your appointment has been cancelled.

Another appointment will not be made until payment has been received. If you scheduled advanced sessions they will be cancelled if you have an outstanding balance.

Cancellation List:

Accepting an earlier appointment while on the cancellation list does not automatically cancel any future sessions. It is always the client’s responsibility to notify me when they need cancel any appointment. However I will make a point of asking if you want to keep the session we have already booked.

Payment & Receipts / Statement of Account:

I require payment prior to the commencement of each session. If sending a eTransfer PLEASE insure the password is easy for me to guess.

Clients will be issued a dated receipt by the end of the work week. You may be required to submit this receipt to your extended health benefits plan for reimbursement (if your plan covers our services). Therefore, it is your responsibility to retain the receipt for your records. I do issue electronic receipts and will email copies of the paper receipts. Also, I am able to provide you with copies of receipts or a statement of account for services rendered if you lose them.

So it’s very important that you keep your receipt.

Fees:

My fee is 130$ for 50 minutes. I have 4 sliding scale slots all of which are currently full with waitlist. If you wish to be placed on the the waitlist let me know. If over the course of our work you come into financial difficulty please discuss with me so we can come to a mutually agreeable solution. It is not my intent to terminate counselling due to unforeseen financial difficulties and I will work with you to find a therapeutically appropriate solution.

Periodically my fees may increase and I will do my best to provide one month’s notice to current clients. However, if you haven’t attended recent sessions you may need to confirm your rate.

Your Rights:

Clients always have the right to request a change in the counselling approach, a referral to another counsellor, or termination of therapy. I am accountable to my work with you, I work within my competency and capacity, and if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to discuss these with me at any time. Your input is necessary and valuable in ensuring positive outcomes in the therapeutic process. It is also an essential part of building and maintaining our therapeutic relationship. If after such discussions, you still have concerns and feel they are unresolved and that I have in any way violated your rights, you have a right to file a complaint with the BCACC.

I have an obligation to you to understand and recognize the limits of my abilities. Likewise, I am obliged to openly inform you of these limitations if it seems that more specialized training is required to best address your needs. You are not under coercion to come to session with me and you are not compelled to keep me as your counsellor. It is your choice whether you come to work with me or not and it is your responsibility to communicate if you feel the process is not working for you so that I can best support you in coming up with therapeutically appropriate solutions.

If at any time I feel I have been threatened by a client or my safety is at risk, and after consulting with my Clinical Supervisor and peer support team and they confirm and support me, I will immediately terminate with the client and to the best of my ability offer a referral in the community. I do not take threats lightly and will not tolerate abuse in any form. This does not mean intense feelings and emotions cannot be processed in therapy but if I am ever in a position where my safety is threatened I will take every measure available to me to insure I am protected and safe, this includes legal options, within the bounds of confidentiality, should there be an escalation of behaviours that threaten my safety.

Confidentiality:

All counselling is strictly confidential except under three circumstances. The following circumstances are the only times that we have a legal or ethical obligation to break confidentiality. If such a situation should arrive I would attempt to gain your consent before contacting the relevant authorities:

There is an admission or suspicion of child, vulnerable person or elder abuse (verbal, sexual, physical).

You are an imminent threat to yourself or others, meaning that you are suicidal or homicidal.

A court of law issues a subpoena for our records.

I participate in peer supervision and have a Clinical Supervisor who is a BC Registered Psychologist. During Supervision, cases may be reviewed in a confidential and non-identifying manner. Review of cases helps to ensure that I am providing you with the most effective psychotherapy.

If you have any questions or concerns about this Statement of Understanding please let me know and I will do our best to explain any concerns you may have. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.