Online Bereavement Counselling Terms of Service

All counsellors comply with the Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions of the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists (BACP). These can be obtained at the BACP website.

  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 will be offered a further six sessions with a counsellor. In some cases, where the assessment determines that our service is not best placed to support you, we may not offer any further sessions. The counsellor will signpost you to an alternative service or give a rationale as to why our service is not the best option at this current 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.
  3. 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. For clients who repeatedly cancel sessions within 48 hours, a counsellor has the discretion to count the session towards the allocated six sessions.
  4. Counselling is based on the commitment and consistency of both counsellor and client. Clients are expected to attend weekly sessions or, at most, fortnightly sessions. For clients who repeatedly cancel or do not attend sessions, a counsellor has the discretion to conclude the counselling.
  5. Counsellors will wait for late arrivals for 15 minutes after the session start time. Clients arriving after this period will need to re-book the session.
  6. Following an assessment clients are expected to book their first of six counselling sessions within two weeks.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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 online.counselling@sueryder.org if you are having technical difficulties.
  11. 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.
  12. There will be no online communication between client and counsellor outside of the booked sessions. Our usual admin hours are between 8.30am and 4.30pm, Monday to Friday and we will attend to all queries as soon as practically possible.
  13. In the assessment session you will be asked to provide your address, telephone number, date of birth and GP details.
  14. Counsellors will collect personal information and details of your situation. This information can only be accessed by appropriate members of the Online Bereavement Counselling Service team.
  15. 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. Additionally, with any potential 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.
  16. Counsellors record brief notes after a session; all notes will be stored securely and can be shown to the client to read on request. Any requests must be made in writing to online.counselling@sueryder.org. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. You will need to inform your counsellor if you plan to or are already seeing another counsellor or psychological therapist.
  19. 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.
  20. If any issues arise that leave you dissatisfied with the Sue Ryder Online Bereavement Counselling Service please contact online.counselling@sueryder.org. Following this informal communication, if the issue is not resolved, you will be given details of our formal complaints procedure.