Policies, Terms and Conditions
I want to welcome you and let you know that I look forward to beginning therapeutic work together. I’m a licensed professional counselor in both the Commonwealth of Virginia and the state of North Carolina & A National Certified Counselor. These forms contain information about my business policies and my professional clinical services. It’s important you first review the following information before we start. Please feel free to ask me any questions that you may have about these policies. I am happy to discuss them with you. There are various places for your signature required on the forms, please look this information over carefully as it is required prior to our sessions. Please sign Informed Consent and Business Practices.
ELIGIBILITY FOR COUNSELING SERVICES
Clients interested in receiving online counseling services must be at least 18 years old.
Clients interested in online counseling services must consult with Dr. Judith Black LPC, NCC to discuss eligibility as well as the terms and conditions that apply to said services. If it is determined that online or Walk and Talk counseling is appropriate, clients must submit written verification to the terms and conditions (see below) before services are rendered.
Online counseling services are most suitable for clients over the age of 18 years-old who have either previously engaged in formal counseling services and/or are seeking short-term support for issues that are unrelated to major crisis, severe mental health issues, suicidal, homicidal or violent behavior (past and present).
Online counseling services are intended for clients who have limited access, availability or financial means to receive direct, face-to-face professional counseling services.
Although online counseling services may be helpful, direct, face-to-face services are highly recommended and encouraged, especially for clients either looking for long-term treatment or clients in major crisis.
THERAPY SERVICES- Risks & Benefits
At any time, you may initiate with me a discussion of possible positive or negative effects of entering, not entering, continuing, or discontinuing counseling. Although I expect you to benefit from counseling, I cannot guarantee any specific results. Counseling is a personal exploration and may lead to major changes in your life perspectives and decisions. These changes may affect significant relationships, your job, and/or your understanding of yourself. You may feel distressed, usually only temporarily, by some of the things you learn about yourself or some of the changes you make. In particular, one risk of couple counseling is the possibility of exercising the divorce option. Although the exact nature of changes resulting from counseling cannot be predicted, I intend to work with you to achieve the best possible results for you.
Therapy is best experienced in an atmosphere of trust. For that reason, all therapy sessions are strictly confidential and may not be revealed to anyone without your written permission. There are exceptions to confidentiality where disclosure is required by law (see below). Additionally, there may be times that I need to consult with an adjunct colleague in order to discuss aspects of our sessions to support a therapeutic work together and best support your process. When doing so, please understand I will never use your name and will change significant identifying details in order to protect your confidentiality. According to mental health licensing statutes, the law protects the privacy of all communications between a client and practitioner. Judith Black’s practice is in compliance with the requirements of HIPPA. Confidentiality is taken seriously and discussing or releasing your information to any individual, agency, or corporation except if such release is requested by a signed authorization form; or if a client indicates intent to do harm to her/himself or others.
LIMITS OF CONFIDENTIALITY
What you discuss with Dr. Judith Black LPC, NCC is kept confidential, or private, with some exceptions. The Notice of Privacy Practices provides detailed information about how private information about your health care is protected and under what circumstances it may be shared. Confidentiality of E-mail and Chat, Cell Phone Communication, Therapeutic email and chat exchanges are delivered via Google or Skype. You agree to work with me online using an encrypted email/chat service determined to be suitable by Judith Black.
If you choose to email me from an unsecured email account, please limit the contents to basic issues such as cancellation or change in contact information. If you call me, please be aware that unless we are both on landline phones, the conversation is not confidential. Likewise, text messages are not confidential.
I make every effort to keep all information confidential. Likewise, if we are working online together, I ask that you determine who has access to your computer and electronic information from your location. This would include family members, co-workers, supervisors and friends. I encourage you to only communicate through a computer that you know is safe, i.e. wherein confidentiality can be ensured. Be sure to fully exit all online counseling sessions and emails. If we are unable to connect or are disconnected during a session due to a technological breakdown, please try to reconnect within 10 minutes. If reconnection is not possible, email to schedule a new session time.
I will protect the confidentiality of information received in our counseling relationship as specified by federal and state laws, written policies and ethical standards. Discussions between you and me, and even the fact that you are in counseling with me, are confidential. For this reason, if I see you in public, I will protect your confidentiality by greeting you only if you greet me first.
LEGAL EXCEPTIONS TO CONFIDENTIALITY
Legal exceptions to confidentiality are in place to protect your safety and the safety of others. This includes when there is reasonable suspicion of child abuse (physical, sexual, emotional, neglect), adult dependent care abuse, elder abuse/neglect, and when a client threatens to harm or kill others, or intent to damage another person’s property. Legally, I am a mandated reporter of abuse or intent to harm another. If you’re homicidal and make a serious threat to hurt another person or persons I will contact 911 and make every attempt when the intended victim or victims. Additionally, if I am court ordered to release records, I must abide by the court order and I may be compelled by court order to testify under and must answer all questions honestly.
If you are suicidal, I will take all reasonable steps to prevent harm to yourself. This may include breaking confidentiality if you pose a serious risk of self-harm to yourself.
FULL CLIENT DISCLOSURE & RIGHT TO REFUSE ONLINE COUNSELING SERVICES POLICY
If you have any history of major psychiatric episodes, hospitalizations or drug/alcohol dependence or have been diagnosed as any of the following - Borderline Personality Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, Bipolar Disorder Type 1, Mentally Ill/Chemically Addicted (MICA), and/or Schizophrenia - you must disclose this information to Dr. Judith Black LPC, NCCprior to being considered for online counseling services.
Failure to do so or knowingly misleading or withholding the above said information excludes Judith Black MS, PhDc, LPC, NCC from any legal obligation or liability related to said client’s diagnosis, prognosis, outcome and actions.
If it is deemed at any point in the treatment that your needs are greater than Dr. Judith Black LPC, NCC area of expertise or scope of practice and a client is unsuitable for online counseling services, Judith Black reserves the right to refuse and/or end treatment and appropriate referral sources will be provided.
WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT FROM ONLINE TREATMENT
The duration of treatment is different for each person and can be difficult to estimate; I will address any concerns that you have about this. If you are not feeling satisfied with your treatment for any reason, you are asked to discuss this directly with me. I will work with you to uncover what might be preventing progress, will modify goals with you if appropriate, and will make a referral for you to (an)other professional(s) if necessary, and/ or at your request. Sometimes people find that they have a temporary increase in their level of distress when beginning psychotherapy, because the process of working on personal issues can be difficult; please be aware of this.
You as the client understand that phone and email sessions have limitations (as well as benefits) compared to in-person sessions, among those being the lack of “personal” face-to-face interactions, the lack of visual and audio cues in the therapy process, and the fact that most companies will not cover this type of therapy. You understand that telephone/online psychotherapy with me is not a substitute for medication under the care of a psychiatrist or doctor. You understand that online and telephone therapy may not be appropriate if you are experiencing a crisis or having suicidal or homicidal thoughts. If a life threatening crisis should occur, you agree to contact a crisis hotline, call 911, or go to a hospital emergency room. You also understand that I follow the laws and professional laws and professional regulations of the Commonwealth of VA (USA) and/or North Carolina and the psychotherapy treatment will be considered to take place in the Commonwealth of Virginia and/or North Carolina (USA).
ABOUT ONLINE COUNSELING
Also known as Distance Counseling, Telepractice, Cyberpsychology, Text-Based Therapy, Telehealth, Behavioral Telehealth, and Online Therapy. Online counseling is providing a psychotherapy service that is not “in person” and is facilitated through the use of technology. Such technology may include, but is not limited to, telephone, telefax, email, Internet, or videoconference. Distance Counseling is subject to all practice and ethical considerations discussed in this document and in the law, rules and regulations governing licensed practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Disadvantages include varying time zones, cultural differences, language barriers, and strength of Internet connection, which may impact the delivery of services. Clients may provide off-line contact information in case of a technology breakdown.
ABOUT WALK & TALK
The only difference is that we conduct the session outdoors while walking together. Outside of that, and wearing a pair of tennis shoes, nothing else changes. The mere act of moving side by side with someone helps to process areas of their life that may feel “stuck.” First, you will meet with me for an initial evaluation to determine if Walk and Talk Therapy is right for you. After the initial session, the following sessions are held while walking around various places in the in Northern Virginia. Please talk to me if you are interested in walking at a specific location outside of Northern Virginia.
What about the weather?
“Weather Call” is always the client’s choice. I’ve been rained on, snowed on, and wind has almost blown me away. I’m not concerned about Mother Nature. For those that are technologically-savvy, sessions via Facetime or Skype are also available.
Can anyone participate in Walk and Talk Therapy?
Most everyone can participate in Walk and Talk Therapy, as long as there are no medical reasons to prevent someone from walking. Even mothers with infants can participate; they can bring their infant in a stroller while they are in session. But, like any other form of exercise, you should consult with a physician before starting. Anyone under the age of 18 years requires parental consent to participate in therapy.
Your choice, based upon availability. Some choose a session before work, while others choose a time around their lunch hour or after work. One of my main goals is to make this as convenient as possible. I know, we definiately have to work with the DC traffic!
Is this a cardio workout?
NO. The emphasis in Walk and Talk Therapy is on the therapy, and the walking is a secondary benefit. We walk at your pace. The focus is on your processing, and not on exercise - although getting the blood moving helps connect the brain, and clients share that burning a few calories is an added benefit that they enjoy! There is nothing physically strenuous about the session. If you prefer a slow pace, that is fine. If you prefer a faster pace, no problem – you set the speed! For other types of activites, please discuss it with me.
How long is a Walk and Talk Session?
The session is 60 minutes. The first 50 minutes are conducted walking and talking, and the last 10 minutes are spent winding down, reviewing, and planning ahead.
What about my confidentiality?
This is not a concern for the clients who currently participate in Walk & Talk therapy – they simply sign a consent form and out the door we go! If by chance we happen to run into someone you know, then I will follow your lead and will never compromise your confidentiality. It is up to you to acknowledge me as your therapist if you chose to do so – the choice is up to you.
What if you see someone you know?
My focus and support is on you and the session continues without interruption. I will always maintain your confidentiality and will not acknowledge you to anyone as my client without your signed permission. The general public is used to seeing people walking together every day – it is part of our normal routine. We are simply two people walking and talking; there is nothing overt that states that this is a therapy session. I will always honor our time together.
Is there anything else I should know in order to prepare?
The only thing you will need is comfy shoes! And, if appropriate, double check with your doctor that there are not medical conditions that would prevent you from participating in Walk & Talk therapy. Then contact me to set up your first session, fill out the forms, and we will get started!
Do you accept insurance?
I am panaled by several insurance boards and I am accepted as an out of network provider for in-person sessions. Clients pay fees in full at each session. At the end of each month, I provide my clients with invoices which they are able to submit to their insurance companies for reimbursement. Many clients choose not to go through their insurance companies because of limited time slots, limited specialties, and the fact that a record of diagnosis can follow your medical records in years to come and make it more difficult to obtain insurance in the future.
How do I access my out-of-network benefit?
On the back of your insurance card, there should be a toll free number for questions related to your mental health benefit. When calling, be sure to check your coverage carefully by asking the following questions:
What are my mental health benefits?
What is my deductible and has it been met?
How many sessions per calendar year does my plan cover?
How much does my plan cover for an out-of-network provider? ?
Is approval required from my primary care physician?
CLIENT CANCELLATION PROCEDURES AND FEES POLICY:
Please send an email to for cancellations. Cell phones cannot guarantee confidentiality, however, you can leave a voice mail or text me at 910.689.7100. I make every effort to return calls and emails within 24 hours. I understand that occasionally circumstances beyond your control may arise which would prevent you from keeping your appointment. If I am unable to attend our therapy session (outside of scheduled vacations) due to an unexpected emergency or illness, every attempt will be made to contact you 24 hours in advance on the phone numbers and/or email you have provided. If you are sick or experiencing any symptoms of illness, I ask that we conduct your session via the phone. I will extend the same courtesy.
Short-Notice Cancellation: Walk & Talk Appointment cancellations made less than 48 hours of the scheduled appointment and Online Appointments cancelled less than 24 hours of the scheduled appointment will be charged the agreed upon full fee for the session.
SCOPE OF PRACTICE
This term indicates the specific area to which a practitioner may practice. Dr. Judith Black LPC, NCC follows local and regional laws and codes of ethics as applicable to a client’s geographic location.
According to national licensure requirements, Dr. Judith Black LPC, NCC is permitted to provide psychotherapy services in all states excluding: Arkansas, Florida, and Nebraska which issue geographical boundaries for distance counseling and require practitioners to be licensed by that state.
If an individual from Arkansas, Florida, or Nebraska chooses to engage in counseling with Dr. Judith Black LPC, NCC you understand and acknowledge that you will not be receiving state-licensed services.
Dr. Judith Black LPC, NCC services are not open to those living in a country that is prohibited by law, regulation, treaty, or administrative act from entering into trade relations with the United States.
TYPES OF SERVICE PROVIDED BY DR. JUDITH BLACK
I offer active “Walk & Talk” therapy and a variety of online and/or tele-health therapy formats. You will be interviewed and may be asked to fill out some questionnaires to assist me in determining how best to help you. Treatment usually involves individual meetings with the therapist, but may also include group treatment and/or involving family members or significant others in some individual sessions. All treatment will be conducted only with your consent.
Online Counseling and Walk & Talk Therapy does NOT provide crises counseling and is not appropriate for clients who:
Have a history of suicidal, homicidal or violent behavior or present as suicidal, homicidal or violent.
Have a history of major psychiatric episodes, hospitalizations or drug/alcohol dependence
Have been diagnosed as any of the following - Borderline Personality Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, Bipolar Disorder Type 1, Mentally Ill/Chemically Addicted (MICA), and/or Schizophrenia.
THERAPEUTIC APPROACH AND STYLE
When people come to counseling, it is because they want something to be different in their lives. They may want to change their life situation, solve a particular problem, make a decision, or understand what is happening in their lives or in themselves. As a first step in counseling, you and I will explore your feelings and concerns and what changes you want or decisions you want to make. When we both understand your situation, I will help you devise various ways to get what you want, as far as that is possible. For counseling to be most effective, you must make a commitment of time and energy and take an active part in the process; this may well involve activities you undertake between sessions, such as seeking out occupational information, taking some career assessment inventories, or practicing a new behavior.
Counseling provides the opportunity for growth and self-discovery in the context of a safe, supportive, and therapeutic relationship. The theory that guides my approach to counseling is an integrative approach. I am deeply rooted in psychoanalytical theory with existential elements. I assert each individual is unique and there are factors outside of an individual’s awareness (unconscious thoughts) which influence his or her thoughts and actions- the past shapes the present. As such I utilize Neuro-Cognitive methods steeped in Trauma Focused Cognitive Counseling, which means that we will collaboratively identify how your cognitions (i.e., thoughts and beliefs) impact your feelings and behaviors and Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) to resolve improperly stored memories. I also include elements of Existential psychotherapy in my approach.
Cognitive Behavioral (CBT) Therapy stresses the role of thinking patterns in how we feel and what we do. It is based on the belief that our thoughts, rather than people or outside events, cause our negative feelings. The therapist assists the client in identifying, testing the reality of, and correcting dysfunctional beliefs underlying his or her thinking – uncovering the ‘root to the fruit’ so to speak. The therapist then helps the client modify those thoughts and the behaviors that flow from them. CBT is a structured collaboration between therapist and client and often calls for homework assignments.
Existential psychotherapy is based on the philosophical belief that human beings are fully equipped to create one's own meaning, and exercising one's freedom to choose. The existential therapist encourages clients to face life's anxieties and to start making his or her own decisions while reflecting on consequences and moving away from fear based thinking. The therapist will emphasize that along with having the freedom to carve out meaning comes the need to take full responsibility for the consequences of one's decisions.
QUALIFICATIONS & COUNSELING EXPERIENCE
I am a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in North Carolina, West Virginia, and the Commonwealth of Virginia. I am also a National Certified Counselor. My formal graduate education has prepared me to counsel individual children, adolescents, adults, groups, and couples. I have been licensed since January of 2011. Prior to that, I worked as a mobile crisis counselor and a qualified professional with emphases in both mental health and developmentally disabled.
I have over 28 years in cultural diversity. My experience includes individual and group therapy in a maximum correctional penitentiary for men, development of individual care plans for American and Korean national children with developmental, learning and mental health disabilities, crisis intervention, and counseling with active duty military and their families. I conducted mental health assessments, crisis assessments and alcohol/substance assessments. I have developed crisis plans and person centered plans. All interventions focused on stabilizing, promoting and increasing one’s mental health and wellbeing. I serve children, adolescents, adults; individually, as a family unit or in group sessions.
I earned my Doctorate of Phiosophy in General Studies with an emphasis in trauma and military lifestlyes. I completed my Masters of Human Services specializing in Mental Health Counseling through Capella University, a CACREP accredited university. My Post Baccalaureate Certification in Professional Counseling was conferred 2008 Capella University. My undergraduate degree is a Bachelor’s of Science from Fairmont State University.
CREDENTIALS AND MEMBERSHIPS
I hold memberships with the American Counseling Association (ACA), North Carolina Counseling Association (NCCA), Association for Counselors and Educators in Government (ACEG), North Carolina Licensed Professional Counselors Association (NCLPCA), National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC), Chi Sigma Iota (CSI) Counseling Academic and Professional Honor Society International, Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES), Association for Creativity in Counseling (ACC), National Military Family Association, and EMDR International Association (EMDRIA) . I am a Qualified Professional in Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities in the state of NC.
I respect each person’s right to choose his or her own belief system. I work well with both the Christian client and the atheist client, as well as client’s from many religions and beliefs. If a client would like to work from a faith-based approach, I am happy to discuss this with you and support your process. Additionally, I respect each person’s right to their choices in terms of sexual orientation, and provide a safe place for both straight and gay clients. I believe in supporting people of all ethnicities, cultures and physical challenges. While our gender, ethnicity, orientation or spirituality may be different, I am open to discussing any concerns or questions you may have in working with a therapist who is either a different race, religion, orientation or gender than you. Having an open discussion on any of these topics can lead to a greater level of trust and rapport. If you have any questions regarding my therapeutic approach and style, or my non-discrimination policies, please feel free to discuss this with me now and/or in the future.
This Agreement shall be interpreted only in accordance with the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia (excluding any rules governing choice of laws), and any legal proceeding associated with this Agreement will occur exclusively in the courts located in Prince William County, Virginia.
TELEPHONE AND EMERGENCY PROCEDURES POLICY
If you need to speak with me between sessions, please call 910-689-7100. Your call will be returned as soon as possible. Messages are checked daily (but never during the night time).
Messages are checked less frequently on weekends and holidays. If an emergency situation arises that requires immediate attention, you may call the emergency National Suicide Hotline at 800-784-2433 or dial 911. If a life-threatening crisis should occur, you agree to contact a crisis hotline, call 911 or go to a hospital emergency room.
PAYMENT FOR SERVICES POLICY
Payments for services must be made prior to the time of each session. Insurance typically will not cover online therapy. You may make payment via PayPal. Virtual Journal Exchanges can be purchased one at a time or as a package. Current Fees and Services are listed on my website.
HEALTH CARE/MANAGED CARE INSURANCE POLICY
In order for the therapist to be reimbursed by an insurance company, a diagnosis of the client must be made and submitted to the insurance carrier before the therapist is paid. Sometimes information on the presenting problem and symptoms the client is experiencing from the client’s private therapy records are also required by the insurance company. This information once released becomes part of the client’s medical records and may impact confidentiality. Because of this factor in confidentiality, I do not work with Managed Care Health Insurance programs. I will be glad to provide a ‘superbill’ receipt that you may submit to your insurance company if you wish for a possible out of network reimbursement, however, I will not fill out forms or work directly with or on your behalf with your health care insurance company.
Additionally, is important that you also understand that there is no guarantee that your insurance carrier will cover your therapy sessions. I ask that clients carefully consider this before we begin our work together. If you choose to work with me, my policy is fee for service as described in the following section. Your signature indicates that you understand and agree to respect my policy around managed care health insurance, and will honor this agreement now and in the future.
FEES & SERVICES POLICY
Therapy is an investment in self-care, and is a process that takes time. I ask that you meet my full fee unless you are facing serious financial hardship in which case we can discuss a sliding scale fee before the start of your first session that is mutually acceptable to us both. If you are not able to afford my fee even if the sliding scale is available, we will not be able to work together, but I will be happy to provide you with three (3) therapy referrals for low cost clinics that offer lower fees. If you utilize my sliding scale, from time to time we will revisit your fee and discuss a possible increase. Should your financial situation improve, I will then discuss an increase in your fee that either meets or is closer to my full fee.
$175 Walk & Talk Session (60 Minutes)
Tele-Health E Session Fees
$50 Single Session | 30 minute session | Expires 30 days from purchase
$80 Single Session Plus | 30 minute session | No expiration
Online Extensive Journal Exchange Fee
$50 Journal Submission/Response
$125 Alpha Plan | three 30 minute/ diary sessions
$200 Bravo Plan | Five 30 minute/diary sessions
$300 Charlie Plan | Eight 30 minutes/diary
*All plans expires 30 days from purchase unless otherwise stated
$500 Charlie Plan with Rollover credits | No Expiration
*Packages are on a subscription plan
PaymentWalk & Talk Sessions: Payment in full (cash, check or PayPal) is expected at the time of your appointment.
Tele-Health Sessions: Payment in full (via PayPal or Stripe) is expected prior to scheduling your online session or submitting a journal entry.
FEE INCREASE POLICY
We will discuss this Informed Consent during our first session. Fees are reviewed each year, and may increase periodically. Every consideration to client’s a 30-day notice will be given prior to the increase. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have about this fee agreement. Please understand that you have the right to terminate therapy at any point. If you have any questions regarding my fee policy, please do not sign until discussing with me. Your signature indicates that you understand and agree to these conditions:
CLIENT CANCELLATION PROCEDURES AND FEES POLICY
Please send an email to email@example.com for cancellations. Cell phones cannot guarantee confidentiality, however, you can leave a voice mail or text me at 910.689.7100. I make every effort to return calls and emails within 24 hours. I understand that occasionally circumstances beyond your control may arise which would prevent you from keeping your appointment. If I am unable to attend our therapy session (outside of scheduled vacations) due to an unexpected emergency or illness, every attempt will be made to contact you 24 hours in advance on the phone numbers and/or email you have provided. If you are sick or experiencing any symptoms of illness, I ask that we conduct your session via the phone. I will extend the same courtesy.
Short-Notice Cancellation: Walk & Talk Appointment cancellations made less than 48 hours of the scheduled appointment and Online Appointments cancelled less than 24 hours of the scheduled appointment will be charged the agreed upon full fee for the session.
No-Show: If you do not show up for a scheduled appointment (that you have not called to cancel) you will be charged the full fee for the session. Any appointments in which you are 10 minutes late are deemed a "no-show". If you tend to forget appointments please let me know – I will be happy to email you in advance to confirm our sessions. However, you are responsible for keeping track and attending your sessions.
On-going Cancellations or Multiple No-Shows: It is understandable that occasionally an appointment will be cancelled or missed due to illness or emergency. However, your regular session day/time has been reserved for you. My current client schedule does not allow for a great deal of flexibility with respect to continual cancellations, rescheduled appointments, or no shows. If you find that your schedule is no longer able to accommodate the session time reserved for you, please discuss this with me and I will do my very best to find an alternative solution, such as phone sessions, so that we can continue our work together. However, please note that should on-going cancellations, frequent reschedules even within the same week, missed appointments, late payments/non payment become an issue, and if after discussing other options with you your attendance has not changed, I will need to open up your reserved time to my wait list and add you to the wait list. If you prefer not to be placed on the waitlist, then I will provide you with three therapy referrals and/or terminate with you until you are able to attend.
I am available to take a brief 5-minute phone call or answer a short 1 paragraph email regarding your therapy appointment times or therapy homework one time between sessions and no more than 1 time per month without the client incurring a fee. We will not process therapy issues via email unless I have specifically asked you to check in as part of your treatment. If the client feels that more contact is needed between sessions due to crisis, I am willing to discuss the possibility of increasing the weekly sessions or scheduling a phone appointment temporarily if I feel that it supports the client’s therapy. If frequent non-crisis contact continues between sessions, it will be important to talk about charging for that support time, and/or referring out for a higher level of care than a once a week therapy session can offer.
THERAPIST TIME OFF POLICY
I regularly take time off to recharge just like you. I will give you at least one week notice before my time away. If you require a higher level of care at this time, please take this into consideration. During my time-out, I will not be available for individual full sessions, both online or walk and talk, via e-mail, text, or phone unless it is a serious crisis, or life-threatening emergency where there is imminent danger to self or others. If you are threat to yourself or another when I am awake, please call 911 immediately. I asked the clients respect my time away and unless there’s a critical emergency, they wait until the next session to discuss. For emergency situations I will respond to the client within 24 hours of the receipt of the e-mail, call or text. For nonemergency clients, I will respond the first business day upon returning back to my office.
HOLIDAY, WEEKEND, AND EVENING CONTACT POLICY
I will make every effort to return the call, email or text message of a non-emergency client message within 24 hours during my work week. If this call, text or email arrives during a holiday, weekend or evening, I will return the non-emergency client contact during the first working day following the holiday, weekend or evening. For emergency only clients (emergency constitutes imminent danger to self or others) I will make every effort to return the call, text or email within 24 hours and ask that if the client is facing a life threatening emergency that they call 911 immediately. There will be a regular session fee or partial session fee for emergency phone calls and sessions that are in excess of 5 minutes, or more than 1 time per month.
DUAL RELATIONSHIPS POLICY
While a therapeutic relationship can feel psychologically close, it is one that is professional in nature with important boundaries. It is unethical for a therapist to invite you into a business venture, ask you for personal favors, start a social relationship with you, etc. These examples are called, “dual relationships” and can negatively impact clinical boundaries. Although our sessions may be intimate psychologically, it is important to acknowledge that we have a strictly professional relationship. On the rare occasion that I see a client outside of the office (when we may accidentally run into each other in public), I am highly discreet and will maintain your confidentiality. I will do my best to follow your lead, and thus it is your choice to acknowledge the encounter and me as your therapist or not. If you do not choose to acknowledge the encounter, I will respect this and will follow your lead. In addition, I will never acknowledge working therapeutically with anyone without his/her written permission.
INTERNET PROFESSIONAL AND/OR SOCIAL NETWORKING POLICY
On occasion a client will send me an on-line invitation or “friend” request through Linked In. This is a gray area. Unfortunately, this could potentially risk the client’s confidentiality. As such I choose not to accept these requests from clients.
PHYSICAL CONTACT POLICY
Sexual contact is never acceptable in the therapeutic relationship. Romantic or sexual talk, or sexual innuendos and sexual jokes are also unacceptable in the therapeutic relationship. If you should express a sexual comment or joke while in session directed to me, we will explore this comment professionally and in a non-shaming way within a therapeutic non-sexual relationship. Hugging is an expression of affection, a greeting or a good bye within many cultures. However, in some cases hugging can be misconstrued as sexual, and can be triggering for some clients, or may interfere with the therapy relationship. Occasionally a client may spontaneously hug me while they exit my office, or may ask for a hug after a particularly difficult or emotional session, or may feel quite comfortable with a hug at the end of sessions or when ending therapy. Some clients are huggers, some are not, and so it is important for me to understand your stance and to maintain appropriate professional boundaries. If I believe after we discuss the request that a non-sexual brief hug is appropriate and supports your therapy, I will allow for this on occasion. Please understand, if I choose not to hug you, it is not an expression of judgment, dislike or dismissal, rather it would be denied
in the best interest of your clinical care based on a therapeutic decision.
FRIENDS, FAMILY, CO-WORKERS REFERRALS POLICY
The greatest compliments a therapist can receive are referrals from current or former clients. There are times when clients wish to introduce me as their therapist so they can recommend me as a referral, which is ethical and acceptable. Please understand that your confidentiality is extremely important to me. If another client that I see referred you to me, or if you refer a friend, co-worker or family member to me, legally and ethically I am not able to acknowledge that other person’s attendance to you if they should begin seeing me in therapy or if they are currently in therapy with me. If you choose to share that I am your therapist with the person who referred you or with someone you refer, that is a decision that you must make if you choose to reveal you are in therapy with me. Please be assured that I will not acknowledge you as my client to anyone outside of Basic Black Inc. without your written consent. Occasionally I may discover through something you share in a session that I have seen/are seeing someone that you know in therapy, if this is the case, I must maintain that person’s confidentiality and will hold this information just as I would uphold your confidentiality. On occasion a client may say, “My friend Jane/John Doe mentioned that she/he started seeing you and is enjoying the work you are doing with him/her.” This is an example of my standard response which is stated in a kind tone: “I appreciate any referrals that clients make, however, I cannot reveal whom I see in therapy, and thus I cannot remark on whom I see clinically at this time.” Because this may sound rather official to clients, and because I will not acknowledge whom I see in therapy, including you, I thank my clients here on this page one time in advance for any referrals they may make:
Thank you for the referral; I am privileged and honored to be able to walk with you on your journey.
*Please understand that Organizational/Leadership Development referrals are different dynamics than a therapeutic relationship.