Cognizance Therapeutic Principle
As a therapist, I must maintain good ethical practice in my clients’ best interests to promote their well-being.
Ethically the therapist-client relationship needs to be restricted by boundaries, and these important boundaries keep therapy focused on a working relationship and helps protect both therapist and client.
No therapist should ever enter into any relationship outside of the normal therapeutic relationship. Any friendship, sexual relationships, financial partnerships and any social and social media interaction is unethical.
No contact should be initiated outside of the regular therapy sessions unless necessary for rearranging or communicating changes to times and dates or to inform the client of cancellations or other important information.
Online therapy ethics & ethos
As a professional full-time online therapist, I have for many years working with clients in a way that I believe is founded on empathy, equality and respect, and I now call this the cognizance therapeutic principle.
When working as a therapist, I do my best to create a harmonious and equal relationship between therapist and client. Although there is always a natural inequality between therapist and client, I found a working way that partly redresses the balance in a few essential areas.
Cognizance as a principle is the foundation that this online therapy service is based upon. It is the structure that binds together the ethical values and ethos to work with clients.
No testimonials requested from clients
I will not ask you to help me advertise my business by asking you to provide me with a testimonial; I work for you I do not expect you to work for me, neither do I expect you to interact with prospective clients who want to check if your testimonial is real or fake, that would not be ethical and very unprofessional and breaches the clients’ confidentiality.
Not charging for the first session
All therapists need to provide a free session to do risk assessments with their new clients and check to see if they are suitable before taking them on (especially working online). As successful therapy is often dependent on the therapeutic relationship’s strength, the client needs the time to see if they feel happy to continue. Not every therapist is suitable for every client. Why does the client have to pay for the privilege of finding out for themselves?
In all interactions, I believe that the therapist should always try to build and promote the client’s autonomy by helping them to take responsibility for their own thoughts and actions. I do not ask for payment until after the session has ended, this gives the client time to reflect on the therapy session, and they have the freedom to pay only if they are happy to continue with therapy. This helps promote personal choice and responsibility.
No broken promises
There can never be any promise of success given to the client to persuade them to pay for therapy, which builds up false hope and can even damage a client’s self-esteem when therapy cannot deliver what has been promised. The truth is that all any therapist can do, is try their best to help you discover what is possible for you, I will do my very best to help and support you, to make the changes you want in your life, but I cannot promise you success only the possibility of progress.
This service tells the truth about your confidentiality.
It is important to inform my clients about the truth to help them make an informed choice based on facts and not misleading information, especially about confidentiality.
Some therapists promise total confidentiality but forget to inform the client that there is no total confidentiality as it is impossible to provide it. The truth is no security can be totally secure. All anyone can do is reduce the risks involved as much as it is practical and possible to do so.
Reducing information storage
One way to do that is to reduce risk is by reducing the amount of information stored or kept on file. One of the reasons why I do not keep detailed information about a client’s personal experiences or record sessions is to remove the possibility of a breach of confidentiality as much as is possible to do so.
Allowing the client to remain totally anonymous if they wish is one way to lessen the client’s risk, but it complicates working with people in crisis.
There is a risk that software can be insecure because of bad coding. People can steal sensitive documents, all offices can be broken into, and people can breach trust inadvertently or accidentally.
Whether you are promised hippa compliance or secure encrypted communications, which still does not guarantee total confidentiality, any statement promising any such guarantee is bad information at best and untruthful at worst; manipulating the client to get the clients custom.
There is nothing wrong in saying total confidentiality as most people know what the limits are. However, it still needs to be clarified for ethical disclosure, helping people to make an informed choice on the facts provided, not opinions.