Online Individual Therapy Practice Policy
Welcome! This document contains important information about my professional online services and business policies. When you sign this document, it will represent an agreement between us. Please read this document carefully.
Online Therapy is a relationship between us, the therapist (Asha Dullabh) and client that works in part because of clearly defined rights and responsibilities held by each person. As a client in online therapy, you have rights and responsibilities which you need to understand. There are also legal limitations to those rights that you should be aware of.
ABOUT ONLINE THERAPY
Online therapy is a form of psychological service provided via internet technology, which can include consultation, treatment, emails, telephone conversations and/or education using interactive audio, video, or data communications.
The purpose of online therapy is to promote holistic psychological and social wellbeing, and to work towards optimal mental health.
Understand that online therapy involves the communication of medical/mental health information, both orally and/or visually via video call, text or phone call.
Understand that online therapy based services are different to face to face sessions and therefore have their own limitations and benefits.
Online therapy sessions will take place via an agreed-upon video calling or messaging service such as Zoom Video Conferencing, Microsoft Teams, WhatsApp or possible alternatives.
These sessions will take place at a time agreed upon time suitable for both the client(s) and the therapist.
It is recommended that a legal guardian or alternative caregiver joins a child-client (a child under the age of 12) for the first session where one can will learn how to navigate the online platform.
There is a risk that services could be disrupted or distorted by unforeseen technical difficulties. If the technical difficulties are too bad to recover the session, a new session will be scheduled.
Understand that you / your child may benefit from online therapy/ supervision, but that results cannot be guaranteed.
Online therapy sessions are confidential so far as the therapist and client can make them.
Practices applied which promote confidentiality of the session include but are not limited to:
• An encrypted platform is used for any online service.
• Invitations to the therapy session will only be made available to the client via WhatsApp or email. In the case of children, (under the age of 12) the parent will also receive the invite.
• Clients and the therapist will sit in a private room during the session.
• Understand that there is a risk of the session being overheard by anyone near them if they are not in a private room while participating in online session.
• Clients and the therapist are encouraged to wear earphones so that the therapy/ supervision dialogue is private.
• Therapist and clients will not video record or voice record the session without the consent of either party. Breach of this agreement will be a criminal offence and legal action will be implemented.
Confidentiality is only broken if harm to self or others is suspected. Additional helping professionals and caregivers will be notified to ensure the clients safety and wellbeing.
Reports are not forensic reports and therefore may not be used as evidence in a court proceeding. Forensic reports of any nature and for any purpose should be requested and discussed with the therapist in advance. No psycho-legal work is offered by Asha Dullabh.
RECORDING OF ONLINE SESSIONS
– Audio and Video Recording by clients is prohibited.
– Written session notes will be made during and after therapy sessions to help the therapist reflect and plan effectively for future sessions. These notes will be stored electronically via an encrypted online Drive. Only the therapist will have full access to this Drive. All notes will also be password protected to prevent unwanted access to these confidential notes. These notes are not available for clients to review and remain the sole ownership of Asha Dullabh
EXCLUSIONS AND TERMINATION OF THERAPY
Accept that online therapy does not provide emergency services. If you or your child are experiencing an emergency situation, you understand that you can access emergency services via the local police station, hospital or an emergency therapy hotline in your area.
– Clients who are actively at risk of harm to self or others are NOT suitable for online therapy services.
– If a client is not suited to or struggles to successfully engage via online therapy, the therapist may terminate services with him/her and may refer them to a better suited service.
– Session absenteeism and frequent cancellations will result in the therapist terminating services and referring the client for alternative services.
– I understand that as a client of legal age and of sound mind and body/ or as the legal guardian of the client, that I have the right to withdraw consent at any time without affecting my right to further care or treatment.
CONDITIONS OF SERVICE
You am responsible for ensuring the following conditions are in place, enabling you to access the online therapy services:
o Telecommunications equipment including a computer, laptop or cell phone with internet access and a stable Wi-Fi connection.
o Arranging a location with sufficient lighting and privacy that is free from distractions or intrusions for my online therapy sessions.
o Arriving 5 minutes early than the session start time to ensure a prompt start at the allocated session time.
o To cancel any session that you are unable to make must be canceled at least 24 hours in advance.
o For parents of child clients: To avail yourself for the initial tutorial therapy session, helping your child learn how to make the most of their online sessions.
o For parents of child clients: To avail myself for online meetings with the therapist whom will update you on your child’s progress . ( for children under the age of 12 only).
RISKS AND BENEFITS
Online therapy has both benefits and risks. Risks may include experiencing uncomfortable feelings, such as sadness, guilt, anxiety, anger, frustration, loneliness and helplessness, amongst others, because the process of therapy often requires discussing the unpleasant aspects of your/your child’s life. However, online therapy has shown to have benefits for individual and families.
In online therapy, you may experience a lack of “connection” as to face to face therapy, please communicate this to me if this is your experience. Research has indicated that online therapy is just as effective as in person therapy. However, it is not an appropriate medium if you are seriously depressed, have substance dependence, or if you are experiencing mild or intense suicidal or homicidal thoughts. Face to face therapy would be the preferred and recommended mode of therapy in such circumstances.
Online therapy often leads to a significant reduction in feelings and distress, increased satisfaction in interpersonal, greater personal awareness and insight, increased skills for managing stress and resolutions to specific problems. There are no guarantees with regard to the outcome of online therapy. Online therapy requires a very active effort on your part. In order to be most successful, you will have to work on things outside of sessions, in accordance with the direction given in the sessions/parent feedback sessions. The first session will involve a comprehensive evaluation of your needs. By the end of the evaluation, I will be able to offer you some initial impressions of what our work may include. At that point, we will discuss our treatment goals and create an initial treatment plan. You should evaluate this information and make your own assessment about whether you feel comfortable working with me. If you have questions feel free to discuss them with me.
My online practice is open from Monday’s to Friday’s on appointment basis only between 8am to 8pm. Earlier or later appointments from Monday to Friday and specific weekends / public holidays are by special arrangement.
Bookings are made via the website www.ashadullabh.com. Shall you experience any problems in making a booking, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or WhatsApp business +2782 2555277. Full upfront payment is required to secure your appointment. Appointments for online therapy sessions are on average 50 minutes in duration, at a frequency that is mutually agreed upon. There is also a 30min option for rapid guidance. Therapy packages are also available on the website. If you book a package, you will only need to book your first appointment online, the remaining sessions of the package will be booked at the end of our first consultation. The time scheduled for your appointment is assigned to you/your child and you/ your child alone.
You are responsible for arriving on time. If you are late, your appointment will still end at the scheduled time and you will be charged the full session fee.
CANCELLATION OF APPOINTMENTS
If you need to cancel or reschedule a session, I ask that you provide me with (at least) 24 hours’ notice either by email or WhatsApp. If you miss a session without cancelling, or cancel with less than 24 hours’ notice, my policy is that you will be charged and responsible for payment.
South African rates: These rates are only for South Africans currently residing in SA. All consultations need to be paid upfront via the payment portals at the agreed rate at least 24hrs prior to the session to secure your booking. A statement will be provided shall you wish to claim directly from your medical aid. Only SA residents will be able to book via the WhatsApp link on www.ashadullabh.com
All other International rates for online sessions paid via PayPal.
Family, Sibling, Couple, Parent Feedback, Team Meetings, School meetings. Hourly rate applies as above.
Group Therapy Available upon request
Workshops (Half day/Full day) Available upon request
Talks, Presentations, Webinars Available upon request
You understand that it is your responsibility to ascertain the psychological benefits that I am eligible for in terms of the medical aid scheme that I belong to. I understand that Asha Dullabh does not submit claims directly to the medical aid.
Asha Dullabh is under no obligation to draw up written reports of any nature relating to any service offered. Should I undertake to draw up a written report, upon request to do so by you, the time spent drawing up the report will be charged for per hour. I provide a confidential, therapeutic service, and not a psycho-legal or forensic service. If you anticipate becoming involved in a court case, I recommend that we discuss this fully before commencing with therapy.
In order for us to set realistic treatment goals and priorities, it is important to evaluate what resources you have available to pay for your treatment. If you have a medical aid, it will usually provide some coverage for mental health treatment. If you are unsure, kindly contact your medical aid company and ascertain whether they will pay for your therapy sessions. You should also be aware that most medical aid companies require you to authorize me to state a diagnosis on my invoices as well as the extended benefit forms, in the form of a diagnosis code, in order for the medical aid to reimburse you. Though all medical aid companies claim to keep such information confidential, I have no control over what they so with such information once it is in their hands. By signing this Agreement, you agree that I provide diagnostic and service- related information on your statement. You have the right to not submit my invoices to your medical aid for reimbursement, should you choose to avoid the disclosure of your information to your medical aid, as herein described.
PARENTS, LEGAL GUARDIANS, RELATED TO MINORS
While privacy in online therapy is crucial to successful progress, parental involvement can also be essential. It is my policy not to provide treatment to a child less than 12 years of age, unless he/she agrees that I can share important information I consider necessary with a parent. Please see below paragraph on confidentiality for more information. For children aged 14 years and older, I request an agreement between myself, the child and the parents, allowing me to share general information about treatment progress and attendance. All other communication will require the child’s agreement unless I feel there is a safety concern, in which case I will make every effort to notify the child of my intention to disclose information ahead of time.
Children who are under the age of 12 (approximately) have limited legal rights to keep what they tell me from their parents. However, as a person becomes better able to understand and choose (typically between the ages of 12 and 18), he or she assumes legal rights. In the process of collecting information from an adolescent, there are grey areas. Some teens may not share certain information without a promise of complete confidentiality. A common area of difficulty is drug use. Teens may have denied aspects of their use to their parents, but may be more forthcoming in the evaluation. I will use clinical judgment to decide the importance of specific information and its inclusion in a report/feedback session. Clearly, there are times where a decision is made to inform parents and others about information obtained from an evaluation that this adolescent would rather remain confidential.
Other issues such as pregnancy, abortion, illegal activities and sexual orientation represent grey areas where a clear-cut set of rules does not always apply. However, the discussion of whether or not to divulge a specific circumstance remains confidential. It is always my intent to persuade an adolescent to not keep secrets.
Once a person has reached their 18th birthday, even if they are in high school and still live at home, they may evoke complete confidentiality over any element of an evaluation.
There are exceptions to confidentiality that are recognized by law:
Risk to Self or Others. If I believe you are threatening serious harm to another person, I am required to try to protect the other person or persons. In that case, I may have to tell the intended victim and the police and/or seek your hospitalization. Similarly, if you threaten or act in a way that is very likely to harm yourself, I may have to seek hospitalization for you, or call your family members or others who can help to protect you. If such a situation arises, I will discuss the situation with you before I contact anyone else, unless safety overrules such a discussion.
Risk of Abuse. If I believe or suspect that a child, an elderly person, a disabled person or anyone else is being abused (by your neglect, assault, battery or sexual molestation), I must file a report with the appropriate agency. I do not have any authority to further investigate the situation after it is reported (the agency will investigate).
There are additional ways confidentiality may be limited:
It may be necessary to talk about your treatment with other professionals. Your name will not be
revealed and the other professional is also legally bound to maintain the confidentiality of your information.
My cellular phone and email may not be answered during the day as I am working with clients. The quickest way to get hold of me an email to email@example.com or a WhatsApp +27822555277. No WhatsApp calls permitted. Please include your name and surname in the message so that I know who you are. I listen to my voice messages and read emails at the end of the day, and will try my utmost to return the call within 48hours. Should you wish to inform me of any matter between sessions, an email would be most suitable.
If you feel you cannot wait for a return call from me or for your next appointment with me, or, if you feel unable to keep yourself safe, please go to your nearest local Hospital Emergency Room/Outpatient section.
I have a practice Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn business page under the name “Asha Dullabh ” for which you can “follow” or “Like” to stay connected and updated on the services, workshops, newsletters and interesting quotes and articles of interest.
If you are unhappy with any aspect of online therapy, I encourage you to talk to me about it. Such comments will be taken seriously and handled with care and respect. You may also request that I refer you to another therapist and you are free to end your therapy at any time. You have the right to considerate, safe and respectful care, without discrimination as to race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age or religion.
DECLARATION OF CONSENT
I the client/parent/legal guardian, acknowledge and understand the benefits and risks as made known to me by Asha Dullabh and as reflected in this form, I hereby give consent myself/family/child to participate in online therapy/assessment for the sake of addressing the presenting problem.
Your ACCEPTANCE above confirms that you have read this Agreement and agree to its contents. This will act as your authorised acceptance and signature.