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Our Ethics Policy

As therapists, we commit to practice to an appropriately high ethical standard, as set out in the BACP Ethical Framework.

Below are some of the crucial relevant elements of our ethical practice that you may wish to be familiar with when starting out on a course of therapy. As ethical practitioners, we will strive to ensure that you understand the extents and boundaries of our ethical practice with you as our client.
 

Our ethical commitment to clients

As professional therapists trained in the person-centred approach, we have a commitment to our clients to provide professional standards and the appropriate conditions to build a safe and ethical therapeutic relationship.

 

This commitment includes:

- Putting clients first

- Working to professional standards as set out by the BACP

- Showing respect to clients in all facets of our practice

- Building appropriate relationships with clients

- Maintaining integrity within the relationship

- Demonstrating accountability and candour
 

In addition to these commitments to you as a client, we are also committed to a series of values that fundamentally affect and influence our practice at every level. These values include:

- Respecting human rights and dignity
- Alleviating symptoms of personal distress and suffering
- Enhancing people’s wellbeing and capabilities
- Improving the quality of relationships between people
- Increasing personal resilience and effectiveness
- Facilitating a sense of self that is meaningful to the person(s) concerned within their personal and cultural context
- Appreciating the variety of human experience and culture
- Protecting client safety within our practice
- Ensuring the integrity of therapist-client relationships
- Enhancing the quality of professional knowledge and its application
- Striving for fair and adequate provision of services

Our fundamental principles

We are also committed to certain fundamental principles as counsellors, namely:

- To be trustworthy, in order to honour the trust placed in the practitioner
- To respect autonomy, respecting the client’s right to be self-governing
- Demonstrating beneficence, to promote the client’s wellbeing
- Maintaining non-maleficence, a commitment to avoid harm to the client
- Committing to justice, maintaining fair and impartial treatment of all clients and the provision of adequate services
- Maintaining self-respect, to foster the therapist's self-knowledge, integrity and care for self (all integral for quality therapeutic work with our clients)

Ethical decisions that are strongly supported by one or more of these principles without any contradiction with the others may be regarded as well-founded.


However, therapists may encounter circumstances in which it is impossible to reconcile all the applicable principles. This may require choosing which principles to prioritise. A decision or course of action does not necessarily become unethical merely because it is controversial or because other practitioners would have reached different conclusions in similar circumstances. A therapist's obligation is to consider all the relevant circumstances with as much care as possible and to be appropriately accountable for decisions made, both to their clients and to their professional association (in this case, the BACP).

Confidentiality

Any professional or personal interests that conflict with putting a client’s interests first will be carefully considered in consultation with a supervisor, an independent experienced colleague or, when appropriate, discussed with the client affected before services are offered.


We will give careful consideration to how we manage situations when protecting clients or others from serious harm or when compliance with the law may require overriding a client’s explicit wishes or breaching their confidentiality.

In exceptional circumstances, the need to safeguard our clients or others from serious harm may require us to override our commitment to making our client’s wishes and confidentiality our primary concern.

 

As such, we cannot promise total confidentiality to our clients. 

 

Owing to certain legal and professional obligations, we may need to act in ways that will support any investigations or actions necessary to prevent serious harm to our clients or others. In such circumstances, we will do our best to respect the parts of our client’s wishes or confidences that do not need to be overridden in order to prevent serious harm.

Some examples of legally obliged disclosures that would breach confidentiality include (but are not limited to):

- Acts of terrorism
- Drug trafficking and money laundering
- Court orders or subpoenas

Examples of discretionary disclosures (but are not limited to):

- Child protection and safeguarding
- Protection of vulnerable adults
- Risk of suicide or serious self-harm or harm to others

When we have to breach confidentiality, we will endeavour to discuss it with our clients and obtain their consent. However, there may be some occasions when we are legally obliged to make a disclosure even without client consent, or when it could be illegal to inform clients (for example, in cases of terrorism).

 

In other cases, it may be inadvisable to inform the client if it increases the risk of harm to a child or others, or where it may compromise a police investigation.

We will endeavour where possible to be clear and seek informed consent as much as possible before making a disclosure.

We share a responsibility with all other members of our professions for the safety and wellbeing of all clients and their protection from exploitation or unsafe practice. We will take action to prevent harm caused by practitioners to any client.

We will inform clients about any reasonably foreseeable limitations of privacy or confidentiality in advance of our work together, for example, communications to ensure or enhance the quality of work in supervision or training, to protect a client or others from serious harm including safeguarding commitments, and when legally required or authorised to disclose.

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