Terms of Service

Welcome to my practice

I’m so glad we’ve connected. You’ve taken a courageous first step by reaching out for counselling, and I look forward to supporting you in meeting life’s challenges with greater self-compassion and insight. Please read this document carefully as it forms an agreement between us for our work together, expanding on the basic terms of service noted in your completed intake form. By continuing therapy with me, it is assumed that you agree with these terms and consent to our work together. Please get in touch with me at any time if you have any questions or concerns. I look forward to working with you.

What to expect

Counselling is a form of talk therapy designed to help you compassionately manage issues causing you distress or concern, improve your insight and self-compassion, and learn effective personal and interpersonal coping strategies in a safe, confidential environment. I draw on various evidence-informed approaches depending on what is most helpful for you. 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. For coaching, I use a model developed by the International Association of Trauma Recovery Coaching, with whom I’m certified.

Although the modality is important, evidence shows that the relationship you build with your therapist or coach is the ultimate healing factor. This is really important to how I work, so if you ever feel that I’m “missing you” or we’re misattuned somehow, I welcome your feedback. This can be an important part of therapy and coaching.

You will be sharing confidential, sensitive, personal and private information, which may sometimes be distressing or result in periods of increased anxiety or confusion. I encourage you to let me know if you ever feel too uncomfortable. We can pause at any time and take the session at your pace. If you feel like ending suddenly or after a session that might have been challenging or painful, I recommend that you reach out and talk to me so we can work through it in relationship with each other. Your feelings matter to me and may be linked to the current discomfort or an “old story.” Either way, it can be therapeutic to talk it through rather than finishing without attending to this.

I am deeply committed to your recovery, growth and psychological safety. This is ultimately supported by the commitment you make to yourself – both during your sessions and at home. If I cannot help you at any point in your counselling, I’m required to refer you to another professional who may assist you further. This is especially important in the case of conditions that may require a medical or psychiatric diagnosis. (Please note that I do not prepare letters, forms or reports for any insurance, employer, educational, medical, government or legal entity. Nor do I provide recommendations or legal testimony on behalf of clients.)

Confidentiality

My intention is to provide you with a private and confidential space. Under most circumstances, I will not release any information you disclose without your consent unless I am obliged to do so by law or the ethical standards of my professional body. Some of my reporting obligations include (but are not limited to) illegal activity, harm or neglect, domestic violence situations involving children, court subpoenas, cases of known or suspected abuse, or if I believe you have a serious intent to harm yourself or others. In these cases, I am required to make contact with the appropriate external agencies, but I will generally discuss this with you first.

I receive clinical supervision at least ten times yearly and may discuss issues arising in our sessions. Your identifying information is omitted, and confidentiality rules also bind my supervisor.

Please don’t record our sessions, take screenshots, or copy my paperwork or the content of emails or messages without my permission. This protects your privacy and my intellectual property. At times, I may 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.

To maintain confidentiality, I cannot accept social media friend requests from clients during or after our work together. If I notice that we are in a Facebook group together, I will block your profile to maintain your privacy. You’re welcome to follow my social media pages, but please note that likes, follows, and comments may appear in your news feed. I don’t engage in advice-giving or online therapy on social media. I appreciate your understanding that discussing any details of your sessions on these platforms is inappropriate.  

Emergencies

If there is an emergency during a session, I may contact your emergency contact person, emergency services, or a mental health crisis team. Please advise in writing if your emergency contact or residential address details change. If you are not at home for an online appointment, please let me know your location at the beginning of the session so I can access help on your behalf if necessary. If a crisis 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 & Payment

  • Unless otherwise arranged, initial appointments, couple sessions & longer appointments (80 mins) are $240 AUD (includes GST for Australian clients). An invoice will be emailed, with payment required 48 hours before the first session to secure the booking. Follow-up sessions can be paid on the day.
  • Subsequent individual sessions (60 minutes) are $180 AUD (including GST for Australian clients) unless otherwise arranged. A reduced fee may be available for regular weekly sessions.
  • You may be eligible for a health fund rebate if you have extras cover with Bupa, Medibank, ahm, Doctors Health Fund, or Australian Regional Health Group (Teacher’s Health Fund, St Luke’s Health, Police Health, GMHBA, Westfund, Emergency Services Health, Phoenix Health, WestFund, Grand United, and CUA Health).
  • You may like to set up a weekly direct debit, pausing when sick or on holidays.
  • For Australian clients, please transfer your fees by direct deposit 48 hours before your first session (follow-up appointments can be paid on the day). In-person clients are welcome to pay in cash on the day for follow-up appointments only. 

Bank details
Karen Bieman
Bank Australia
BSB 313140
Account Number 12213171

  • Alternatively, credit card payments can be made at the end of follow-up appointments for international clients and Australians on request. You can opt to save your card details in the encrypted Stripe payment processor as per Stripe’s privacy policy. (The data is not stored or accessible by me.) By doing so, you agree that I may process payment on your behalf after each session. This can be changed at any time.
  • My fee structure is reviewed annually and I will provide 30 days’ notice by email.
  • Investing in psychotherapy or coaching is ultimately about taking responsibility for your health and well-being, and it reflects the value you have chosen to place on your recovery and growth. If your financial situation changes, or you find yourself having concerns about money, do feel free to bring any concerns to your sessions, and we can spend time working through this in relationship with each other.

Frequency of sessions

Depending on our agreement, your sessions will be either:

  • Recurring weekly sessions (same day and time) to support and hold the relationship, providing a safe, secure base to explore your inner and outer world. Weekly appointments keep your process moving and underline your deep commitment to yourself.
  • When clinically appropriate, recurring fortnightly sessions for those who cannot attend weekly due to financial or personal reasons.
  • In some cases, casual one-at-a-time sessions may be an option for clients waiting for a regular appointment time slot or after weekly or fortnightly sessions have ended as sessions taper off. Previous clients are welcome to return in the future if needed.

Holidays

To hold a recurring appointment spot, the holiday allowance is 4 weeks pro rata in addition to my holidays and continued professional development commitments. Breaks in therapy can stir up big feelings and underlying early childhood attachment disturbances. Because of this, I intend to give you plenty of advance notice of my holidays via email. Please email me your holiday dates with as much notice as possible, allowing us to plan for the breaks.

Sickness, cancellations & missed appointments

The cancellation period is 24 hours’ notice; otherwise, your session is to be paid for in full. This is capped at 3 x 24-hour cancellations per year. After 3 cancellations or missed appointments, all sessions outside the holiday allowance incur the full session fee, even when advance notice is provided. You are enrolling in a course of therapy, and this policy allows me to keep your space open for you until you make a decision to end your therapy. Please transfer payment on the usual day.

When cancelling sessions – please notify me via text or email. For in-clinic appointments, I am happy to Zoom your session if you cannot attend due to illness, business/overseas travel or bad weather if you are coming via public transport. If you cannot connect for any reason, the 24-hour cancellation fee applies. If you know in advance that you will be unable to make your session, I will try my best to reschedule you at another time in the same week – however, my practice is currently full, so this may not always be possible.

If last-minute cancellations occur on 3 occasions within a short time frame, we will explore together whether there are any underlying concerns about therapy, how you are feeling about therapy and whether now is the right time for you.

Please note that if you are late or I charge you a cancellation fee, I spend your usual session time in self-supervision or reading a relevant topic to support our work together. This is what we call in psychotherapy, ‘holding space’. Please let me know if you have something specific you want me to read or research. This makes for deep and rich work on your return.

Communication

Appointment confirmations, reminders, and invoices are emailed from notifications@splose.com. Emails about holidays and fee changes may be sent from my client email list on Mailchimp. Please advise if you wish to be removed from the Mailchimp 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 get in touch, the best way is via email or text message, and I will respond as soon as possible. My contact details are karen @ karenbieman dot com and +61 411 889 175. Calling in an emergency is okay, but my phone is often switched off or silent as I may be with a client.

Record keeping and 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 de-identified, password-protected files. Any 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.

Online sessions

Video (Zoom) and phone sessions. For video sessions, the Zoom link will be included in the email reminder sent the day before your appointment. For phone sessions, I will call on the number you provided. I use headphones and a private office to protect your privacy. Please ensure you are also in a private location where you can speak without being overheard or interrupted by others (headphones are recommended). I encourage you to mute notifications and turn off any devices not being used by Zoom to reduce interruptions and increase your privacy. I encourage you to familiarise yourself with Zoom’s Privacy Policy and user guide. Please allow yourself some time in advance to resolve any technical issues so that they don’t take away from our valuable time together. If connection problems occur with a Zoom session, you may email me or text my mobile phone to sort things out.

Email “sessions” are one exchange of up to about 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, and consider deleting emails after reading them. I use an encrypted, secure email platform called Proton and encourage you to use a free Proton Mail account. If not, I will secure my counselling emails with a password.

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 must download to your phone or computer.

Ending

You may end our work together at any time and 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 together. Your feelings matter to me, and I will listen to your concerns. If you want to finish, I recommend you allow at least one session’s notice, as this gives us an opportunity to review and conclude our time together. Endings can be difficult, and doing this relationally is an opportunity for you to work through things differently from your past. If there are any sudden or unforeseen endings by myself, or breaks in our working relationship, I will do my best to make arrangements for care to be taken of your immediate needs.

If you need to make a complaint

Feedback is always welcome – If you’re unhappy or dissatisfied with your sessions, I encourage you to talk to me so I can respond to your concerns. I will take your feedback seriously, with care and respect. I understand how difficult it can be to raise concerns, as I’ve sometimes felt like that. Still, I encourage you to use this as an opportunity to build your confidence and assertiveness in relationships with others. Feedback guides me in adapting my approach where possible or suitable. 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 adhere to the Code of Ethics for the Australian Counselling Association (ACA) and the International Association of Trauma Recovery Coaches (IAOTRC) and am committed to my own psychological well-being through self-care, continued professional development and clinical supervision. If you are dissatisfied after first talking with me and feel I’ve breached my code of ethics, you can contact the ACA or lodge a complaint to IAOTRC at Grievance@iaotrc.com.

Negotiation – If either of us has concerns, we 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 that might reasonably be expected to interfere with any other person’s business or personal interests. We agree to be reasonably cooperative at all stages of the dispute-resolution process.

Mediation – If we cannot 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, you irrevocably agree that if the dispute resolution processes fail, the courts of Victoria, Australia, and the Commonwealth of Australia will have exclusive jurisdiction.

Privacy

Your privacy rights are important to me. My privacy policy outlines my ongoing obligations to you concerning how I manage your Personal Information.

About me

  • Level 3 Registered Counsellor with the Australian Counselling Association (member number 13393)
  • Certified Trauma Recovery Coach with the International Association of Trauma Recovery Coaches (IAOTRC)
  • Certified Clinical Partner Specialist-Candidate with the Association of Partners of Sex Addicts Specialists (APSATS)
  • Association for Counselling and Therapy Online (ACTO) Level 2 Member
  • Griefline Accredited Counsellor
  • Brainspotting Practitioner

Informed Consent

By proceeding with therapy or coaching, you are accepting and bound by these terms, even if I don’t have your signature. Please get in touch with me before proceeding if you have any questions or concerns.

Terms updated: November 11, 2023

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