Karen Pollock Counselling in Northumberland
As an ethical practitioner it is important to be aware of the importance of maintaining good and healthy boundaries. As a member of gender, sexuality and relationship diverse communities it is perhaps even more important given the greater possibility for overlapping spaces and identities. The role of the ethical therapist has been described as one of riding the boundaries, an active process of checking, maintenance and reparation where needed.
This professional boundary statement is part of the process, offering clear guidance to potential clients, and myself. I am indebted to Dominic Davies for introducing me to the concept of a personal boundaries statement.
I am a therapist but also a campaigner, trainer, and on the board of a national Bi charity. I am also a writer. Beyond these I am a human being who recognises the importance of being able to express all parts of ourselves.
As someone who physically lives in a small village, with all the benefits, and disadvantages that brings, I am very aware that at times the gender, sexuality and relationship diverse communities can themselves feel like a village. I hope this Personal Boundaries Statement goes towards ensuring it is a safe village to be in.
Every person who enters into therapy is entitled to have their confidentiality maintained including their identities, i.e. They should never be outed as belonging to the Gender, sexuality and relationship diverse communities. In a first session with you, the person coming to therapy, we will go through a contract which explains the exceptions to this duty of confidentiality. These are safeguarding exceptions, based on a clear belief either you, or another, is in danger of harm, and legally mandated exceptions concerning money laundering and terrorism
As your therapist you have a right to expect I respect your confidentiality, and to know when this right may be breached.
All clients receive a copy of my Social media Policy I believe it is important to have a flexibility built into discussions of social media, particularly as platforms, norms and usage can change at great speed. If your particular concern about social media is not addressed by the policy, please do not hesitate to ask for clarification, or details.
I am a moderator the Pink Therapy facebook group. The Pink Therapy is a closed group.
Being a member o does not preclude being a client, it may be that discussion around your use of, and membership may occur in the initial session, and please let me know if my role as a moderator is a barrier for you, in this situation I may be able to refer to another therapist..Your membership of the group is protected under my duty of confidentiality, and will never be divulged by me.
Having attended a training event where I was facilitating is not a barrier to entering into therapy. If you are interested in therapy, and have previously attended a training event and believe this might be an issue, the best thing is to talk with me about what the issue is. If you are currently a client, and wish to attend a training I am facilitating, this might need discussion, such as how will we acknowledge each other, but solutions can be found.
As I writer I not only have a duty to protect and maintain the confidentiality of my clients but a further duty not to cause harm or distress by a client “seeing themselves” in my writing. I never use client examples, even anonymised, in my writing, nor do I write directly about the therapeutic process with individuals,
Campaigning for GRSD rights is important to me which may mean we have had contact at an event. This does not prevent you entering into counselling however if we meet frequently, or are involved in the same organisation it may be that we would be better just chatting, and I would be more than happy to!
In other cases there may be very little opportunity for overlap, and it would not be a dual relationship were I to become your therapist.. In the initial contracting session we will discuss how you would like me to respond to you should we be at the same event in the future. It may be that a “rota” system or similar works best, if you prefer us not to be in the same space, on the same day. This, or other solutions can be openly explored between us.
At times parents and others have approached me for support and advice, since there are not many visible GSRD therapists and trainers in Northumberland. Sometimes, there may be an overlap (our children go to the same school for example). In these cases it may be fine to go for a coffee but not for counselling to take place. I am however always happy to have that coffee!
This is a living document, by which I mean that there may well be a circumstance not covered. It is not intended to be prescriptive, but rather descriptive. At its heart is a believe that we can live and work in the same communities, and that to do so is a radical act, but that it must be done with a conscious thought and awareness.
Whilst I endeavour to maintain a clear distance between my personal experiences that inform my work and my clients, should there be a concern about an “overlap” I am always open to discussing the appropriate ways of managing that separation.
If you as a colleague, student, or person contemplating therapy, whether with me or not, have any questions about this statement, or my views on living and working in the same communities, please do not hesitate to get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org
This statement is the intellectual property of Karen Pollock and is not to be reproduced without permission.