Online Bereavement Counselling Terms of Service

Bereavement is the state of having suffered a loss after someone has died. It is characterised by grief, which is the process and the range of emotions we go through as we gradually adjust to the loss.

This service complies with the BACP (British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists) Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions.

  1. Sessions will normally last 50 minutes. 
  2. You will be offered one initial assessment with a counsellor, where together you will decide if this service is suitable for you. Based on the results of the assessment, you may be offered up to  six sessions of counselling with a counsellor. In some cases, where the assessment determines that our service is not able to meet your bereavement needs through counselling with our service, we may not offer any further sessions. The counsellor will signpost you to an alternative service and/or give a rationale as to why our service is not the best option at this time. Online therapy is not suitable for people who have long term, severe or enduring mental health conditions, or are in a state of crisis or danger from self-harm. We do not normally offer counselling for a bereavement that has taken place in the two months prior to attending the service. We do not offer counselling for a death that is anticipated but has not happened.
  3. Counselling is based on the commitment and consistency of both counsellor and client. You agree to attend weekly sessions. If you cancel or do not attend more than one session, the counsellor may conclude the counselling. 
  4. If you can’t attend an appointment, you agree to cancel it with a minimum of 48 hours' notice before the scheduled start time so that we are able to offer the appointment to somebody else. If you are unable to give 48 hours' notice, please let us know as soon as possible. If a second appointment is cancelled that will not be able to be rebooked and will be lost. If more than one appointment is cancelled or missed the counselling may end. 
  5. Counsellors will wait for late arrivals for 15 minutes after the session start time and the session will still end 50 minutes after the appointed start time. If you arrive after this period you will need to re-book and it will be counted as a missed session. In exceptional circumstances, we may need to cancel or reschedule a session. If this happens, we will endeavour to give you as much notice as possible and will reschedule the session for a mutually convenient time. We accept no further liability for any such missed session.
  6. Following an assessment where ongoing counselling has been offered, clients will be placed on a waiting list to be allocated to a counsellor who will provide the ongoing sessions. When you have been given the details of your ongoing counsellor you are expected to book the first session within a week (unless you have told us that you will be unable to book within this timescale). If you do not it will be assumed that you do not wish to go ahead with counselling and you will be discharged from the service.
  7. When counselling has concluded clients may reapply to the service after 6 months have elapsed from the ending. They will then be offered another assessment to determine their needs at that time.
  8. The counsellor and client must establish a safe and secure private location where conversations will be confidential and free from interruption and/or distractions. If the counsellor deems your space to be inappropriate for the session then they reserve the right to terminate the session. 
  9. The counsellor reserves the right to terminate the session if the client is under the influence of any misuse of alcohol or substances, or engages in inappropriate behaviour. 
  10. The counsellor and client will agree alternative methods for maintaining contact in the event of IT issues (e.g. telephone). We will not contact you unless we know that you are attempting to join your session. 
  11. At the assessment you will be asked whether you consent to have your counsellor call you if you do not arrive for your session. This only applies to sessions taking places outside of our core service hours. Within service hours we will only contact you if we know that you are attempting to join - please contact if you are having technical difficulties. 
  12. If there are ongoing IT issues (e.g. problems with audio quality) that cannot be resolved, then any remaining sessions will be conducted over the telephone. The counsellor and client will agree on the telephone number to be used in this situation. 
  13. There will be no online or telephone communication between client and counsellor outside of the booked sessions, any necessary communication will be by email with the service administration. Our usual admin hours are between 9am and 4.30pm, Monday to Friday and we will attend to all queries as soon as practically possible. 
  14. In the assessment session you will be asked to provide your address, telephone number, date of birth, an emergency contact and GP details. This information is essential for your safety and counselling will not be able to go ahead if it is not provided. We will only contact your GP or emergency contact in circumstances where it would be necessary to ensure your safety and where possible we will advise you that we are doing so. Your emergency contact should be someone who could come to you should you need immediate help or support.
  15. Counsellors will collect personal information and details of your situation. For further information on how we manage your information please see our privacy policy  Information that you provide can only be accessed by appropriate members of the Online Bereavement Counselling Service team who will comply with our confidentiality policy below. 
  16. Counselling requires and provides a confidential relationship in which you can discuss your personal issues, however there are limits to this confidentiality: 
    1.  If the counsellor judges serious harm may occur either to the client or another person then they may take that information elsewhere to ensure the safety of all. Additionally, if you disclose information that could lead to an act of terrorism, breach of national security, money laundering, drug/human trafficking or child protection issue then the counsellor will manage this information in a manner to meet their professional, legal, organisational and statutory obligations. 
    2. All of our counsellors have mandatory regular clinical supervision for their counselling work. This helps them provide as professional a service as possible and in this confidential setting they will discuss their client work whilst maintaining your anonymity. 
  17. Counsellors record brief notes after all sessions; all notes will be stored securely online and can be shown to the client to read on request. Any requests must be made in writing to The notes remain the property of Sue Ryder and will be destroyed after 7 years. Courts have the authority to subpoena/issue a court order for notes for use in legal proceedings. 
  18. The content of counselling sessions is confidential and must not be recorded, broadcast or shared in any way by the client. Counsellors will not record or broadcast sessions and content will only be shared within the bounds of confidentiality laid out in this agreement. Details of the counselling or any Sue Ryder employees must not be shared by the client on social media or in any other way.
  19. You will need to inform your counsellor if you plan to or are already seeing another counsellor or psychological therapist. If you are, we will not be able to offer you counselling in this service.
  20. At intervals we will ask for your feedback to evaluate the online service. Your comments are very important to the service to ensure its continuous improvement. We will ask for your feedback at the following times: after your assessment, after your final session, and six months after your final counselling session.
  21. If any issues arise that leave you dissatisfied with the Sue Ryder Online Bereavement Counselling Service please contact Following this informal communication, if the issue is not resolved, you will be given details of our formal complaints procedure.

Reviewed September 2021