Any cancellation must be made no later than 24 hours in advance. Should an appointment be missed without due notice, the client may be liable to pay a cancellation/missed appointment fee.
In all cases, at all times, I will strive to keep my clients’ best interests at heart. This includes maintaining confidentiality, protecting my client’s identity and not disclosing information as much as legally and ethically possible. Limits to confidentiality include: the risk of harm to self; the risk of harm to others (including purposeful non-disclosure of HIV/STI status to sexual partners); reporting suspected child abuse/neglect or other forms of abuse; defending claims brought by the client against the psychologist; client information being subpoenaed by court order; and in the event of supervision and professional consultation. Should the need for a breach in confidentiality become necessary, this shall first be discussed where possible, with the client. Special care will be taken when working with children. Where it is requested that I disclose information, for example in the case of a written report or referral letter, I will disclose only such information that is professionally relevant.
The relationship between a client and psychologist is a professional relationship and excludes contact of a social, business, sexual, exploitative, friendly or otherwise intimate nature. Both the psychologist and client are responsible for maintaining a professional working relationship and to avoid or prevent any instances that may be detrimental to the psychotherapeutic or assessment alliance. Should a professional relationship violation or transgression occur, both client and psychologist have legal and ethical rights, and suitable recourse may be undertaken.
The client enters into a psychotherapeutic alliance as an equal partner and collaborator. This means that the client accepts the responsibility of paying for services and engaging with the process in a way that does not hamper the attainment of therapeutic goals.
A crisis management plan will be discussed during consultation and may include drawing up a list contacts with details of persons to contact in case of emergencies. Contacts can include the police, ambulance services, spiritual/religious leaders, trusted friends or relatives, medical doctors, psychiatrists, social workers and psychologists. Although it is possible to contact me on the number provided in an emergency, I do not routinely carry the practice phone with me after hours (before 09:00 and after 18:00 on weekdays, and from 18:00 on Friday evening until Monday morning at 09:00), or when I am on leave. During the day, I may also be unavailable to timeously answer a crisis call as I may be seeing other clients. As such, contacting another professional such as a doctor at an emergency room may be the best course of action in a psychological emergency. Therefore, clients are requested to contact medical doctors first, as they can assist with any pharmacological intervention, hospitalisations and/or referrals.
Other useful emergency numbers include:
- Suicide Crisis Toll- free: 0800 567 567
- South African Depression and Anxiety Group: 0800 567 567 or SMS 31393
Rights of Medical Healthcare Users
Users of psychological services have particular rights. Kindly familiarise yourself with these rights, which are available on the Health Professions Council of South Africa’s website under the Professional Board for Psychology (www.hpcsa.co.za). If you have any questions on this information, please feel free to ask so that I may clarify any concerns.