Terms of Service

Welcome to My Practice

Please find the following information that outlines the terms of service for our work together. This expands on the basic terms of service that were noted in the intake form you completed. By continuing therapy with me, it is assumed that you agree with these terms and give your informed consent for our work together. Please get in touch with me at any time if you have any questions or concerns. Participating in counselling or coaching is a courageous step towards leading a more content, deeper, richer life. I look forward to working with you.

How Therapy & Coaching Work

I believe you are the expert in your own life, and my role is to provide therapeutic counselling or trauma recovery coaching, working collaboratively to help you achieve your desired outcomes.

For counselling, I use an integrative person-centred approach, drawing from a variety of evidence-informed modalities that I consider beneficial to your personal situation. I’ve had specific training in Trauma Therapy, Betrayal Trauma, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Brainspotting, Attachment-Informed Therapy, Existential Grief Therapy, Intention Tapping, Narrative Therapy, Mindfulness, Somatic Self-Compassion, Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP) and more. Whilst the type of therapy is important, evidence shows it is the relationship you build with the therapist which is the ultimate healing factor.

For coaching, the model I use is developed by the International Association of Trauma Recovery Coaching, with whom I’m certified.

Frequency of Sessions

Weekly sessions support and hold the relationship, and provide a safe and secure base to explore your inner and outer world. Regularity and continuity help keep your process moving, hold you psychologically, and underline the deep commitment that you’ve made to yourself. Alternatively, you may choose to have fortnightly or casual sessions, subject to availability.

Risks and Benefits

Although there are no guarantees as to outcomes, I will regularly request feedback and, where possible, adapt my approach to best fit your needs. You may experience uncomfortable feelings at times, but our work together will help you increase your window of tolerance for such feelings. I encourage you to let me know if you ever feel uncomfortable. We can pause at any time and go at your pace.

Confidentiality

I hold the contents of your sessions confidential, with the proviso that I receive clinical supervision at least ten times a year wherein I may discuss issues that arise (supervision is also bound by rules of confidentiality). Other exceptions to confidentiality are if I believe you are in danger of harming yourself or others and/or engaged in criminal activity and/or a matter of child protection arises. In these cases, I am required to make contact with the appropriate external agencies but will generally discuss this with you first. Although rare, a court may order my testimony or subpoena my notes if it determines that the issues demand it. Also, if you filed a complaint against me, I may disclose relevant information regarding the services I have provided to you to defend myself.

Emergencies

If there is an emergency during a session, I may contact the person whose name you have provided on the intake form. Please advise in writing if your emergency contact or residential address details change. If you are not at home for an online appointment, please advise your location at the beginning of the session so I can access help on your behalf if necessary. If a crisis situation occurs during an online session, and we get disconnected, you agree to seek help from someone you trust, emergency services or a relevant crisis line.

Fees and Payment

Your investment in our work together reflects the value you’ve chosen to place on your recovery and growth. If your financial situation changes or you have concerns about the money side of therapy, please bring your concerns to your appointment, and we can spend time working through this together. My fee structure is reviewed annually in accordance with rising business costs and ongoing professional development. You will be notified in writing at least 30 days prior to any increase. Unless otherwise arranged, current fees and payment are as follows:

  • Initial sessions, couple sessions, and longer appointments are currently $200AUD for 80 minutes. Follow-up individual sessions are currently $150AUD for 50-60 minutes.
  • Payment is required on the day of your appointment, or before.
  • Receipts are emailed for those claiming health fund rebates with Bupa, Medibank, ahm, Doctors Health Fund, Police Health Fund, St Lukes Health, Phoenix Health, Emergency Services Health, or Grand United and to others on request.

The preferred payment method for Australian clients is by direct bank deposit, to avoid credit card transaction fees which are currently paid on your behalf. Please use your name as the reference when making payment via direct deposit to the following account:

Karen Bieman
BSB 313140
Account Number 12213171

Credit card payments are available for international clients (and Australian clients on request) and processed at the conclusion of the session using Medipass. With your permission, credit card details are stored securely within Medipass, to enable me to process payment on your behalf for subsequent appointments. This takes the emphasis away from financial matters during our time together. If you don’t give permission for Medipass to store your card details, an SMS payment link will be forwarded to your phone at the conclusion of your appointment.

Cancellations

Please let me know via text or email as soon as possible if you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment. The cancellation period is 48 hours for first appointments and on-site sessions, and 24 hours for follow-up online appointments. Outside this window, the session needs to be paid for in full, although it may be waived in unexpected or exceptional circumstances. (Please let me know if you have a chronic health condition or a particular family situation that is likely to interfere with your capacity to attend pre-booked sessions so that I will take this into account where possible.)

Instead of cancelling, you might like to consider an online option such as video, phone, or live chat. Alternatively, I may be able to reschedule you at another time in the same week – however, my practice is currently full, so this may not always be possible. Alternatively, email counselling or coaching may work for you instead of a synchronous appointment. 

If a cancellation fee is paid, I spend your appointment time in self-supervision or read a relevant topic that will support our work together. Please let me know if you have something specific that you’d like me to read or research. This makes for deep and rich work on your return. 

If last-minute cancellations occur on three occasions within a short time frame, we will explore together whether there are any underlying concerns, how you’re feeling about our work together, and whether now is the right time for you.

Electronic Communications

Appointment confirmations and reminders are emailed from notifications @ splose dot com. Emails about issues such as holidays and fee changes are sent from my client email list on Mailchimp. Please advise if you wish to be removed from the list, so I can ensure you don’t miss important information.

Contact outside of sessions is usually for administrative purposes only. If you need to contact me, the best way is via email or text message. I will respond in due course. My contact details are karen @ karenbieman dot com and +61 411 889 175. In case of an emergency, it’s ok to call, but my phone is often switched off or on silent, as I may be with a client. 

Record Keeping & Data Security

Your privacy matters to me! Although no data transmission can be guaranteed 100% secure, I take reasonable steps to ensure your personal information is stored securely. This includes keeping identifiable information in the Splose booking system separate from your session notes, which are stored in password-protected, de-identified files on an encrypted external hard drive. Paper records are kept in a locked filing cabinet. I have a legal obligation to keep counselling records for at least seven (7) years; in some cases, I may be required to retain records for longer. I will not be liable for any breach of confidentiality or data protection arising from the action of third parties or a lack of security in your devices. Please secure your computer and emails against unauthorised viewing by third parties.

Social Media

To avoid dual relationships and adhere to my ethical code of conduct, I’m unable to accept friend requests from clients during or after our work together. I don’t engage in advice-giving or online therapy through my social media pages. If you follow my social media pages, please note that likes, follows, and comments may appear in your news feed. Your privacy is important to me. Please remember that communication on any social media platform is not confidential and should not be used to share personal information.

Endings

You can choose to end our work together at any time, for any reason. If you feel like ending all of a sudden or after a challenging or painful session, I encourage you to reach out, so we can work through it in relationship with each other. Your feelings matter to me, and I will listen to your concerns. If you think you’d like to finish, I recommend you allow at least one session’s notice. Allowing time for ending well honours the work we’ve done together and gives you an opportunity to review and conclude our time together. Endings can be difficult. Ending relationally is another opportunity for you to work through things differently from your past. In the case of any sudden or unforeseen endings by myself, or breaks our working relationship, I will do my best to make arrangements for care to be taken of your immediate needs.

Online Sessions

I use headphones and a private office for video and phone sessions. Please ensure you are also in a private location where you can speak without being overheard or interrupted by others. A headset is recommended. Please mute notifications on your devices to reduce interruptions during our time together. Video sessions are conducted on Zoom using my professional account. A link will be emailed one hour before the session. If we lose our connection, I will contact you by phone or text to troubleshoot the problem with you. If we cannot resolve the problem, we will arrange a mutually agreeable solution or reschedule the session. For phone sessions, I will call you on the number you’ve provided.

Email “sessions” are one exchange of up to approximately 1000 words each. I will endeavour to reply within 48-72 hours. Please ensure you have password protection on your devices to protect your email content. You may wish to delete emails after reading them. I use an encrypted, secure email platform called Proton. To protect your privacy, I encourage you to also use a free Proton Mail account; if not, I will secure my emails with a password to protect your privacy.

Synchronous live chat may be provided upon request for existing clients only. This occurs at your usual appointment time using the encrypted Signal platform, which you will need to download to your phone or computer.

Please don’t record our sessions or take screenshots. Please don’t copy my paperwork, or the content of emails or messages, without my permission. This protects your privacy and the integrity of our work together. I may, at times, request your permission to record our session for the purpose of my professional development and to enable me to go back over the session for further reflection and feedback. You always have the right of refusal.

Complaints Process

Feedback is welcome – If you’re ever unhappy or dissatisfied with your sessions, I encourage you to talk with me during an appointment, or email me so that I can respond to your concerns. I will take your feedback seriously and with care and respect. I understand that it can be difficult to raise concerns – I’ve felt like that too, at times – however, this is a wonderful opportunity to build your confidence and assertiveness in relationship with others. Feedback helps me ensure our work together is helping meet your needs. If you require help beyond my scope of practice or we’re just not the right fit, I will endeavour to help you find the right person for you – even if it isn’t me!

Code of Ethics – I am a member of the Australian Counselling Association (ACA) and adhere to their Code of Ethics. If you feel that I’ve breached my code of ethics, you can contact the ACA to lodge a complaint. For the International Association of Trauma Recovery Coaches, you can see the Code of Ethics and Standards here.

Negotiation – If either of us has any concerns, we both agree to make a genuine effort to seek a win/win solution and resolve any dispute in good faith, by negotiation and discussion. We both agree to not engage in any public discussion about the issues in dispute, to behave politely towards each other, and to avoid any conduct or communication which might reasonably be expected to interfere with any other person’s business or personal interests. We agree to act in good faith and be reasonably cooperative at all stages of the dispute-resolution process.

Mediation – If we’re unable to resolve a dispute by negotiation and discussion within 28 days, we agree to proceed to mediation with the assistance of an independent accredited mediator, seeking online dispute resolution or mediation by telephone if we are not located within 100km of each other. The mediator is to be appointed by agreement between us or, failing agreement within 28 days of the negotiation period ending, the person initiating the dispute will seek the appointment of a dispute resolution professional by the President of the Law Society of Victoria, Australia, or a similar neutral authority. We agree to share the costs of mediation equally between us. We agree that neither of us will commence legal action until, in the opinion of the independent mediator, the potential for negotiation and mediation has been exhausted.

Jurisdiction – This Agreement is subject to the governing laws of Victoria, Australia. Regardless of where you live in the world, you irrevocably agree that if the dispute resolution processes fail, the courts of Victoria, Australia, and the Commonwealth of Australia, will have exclusive jurisdiction.

Informed Consent

By proceeding with therapy or coaching, you’re indicating that you agree with these Terms of Service. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with me before proceeding if you have any questions or concerns.

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