This is a brief introduction to therapy, how we might work together and what you might expect from therapy in order to make it enriching and helpful for yourself. Therapy tends to evolve in a number of phases, an understanding of which may help you to get more out of the process. Often, it begins with a phase of evaluation, where we will get to know one another and how we might best spend our time together. Then, in the therapeutic phase we will work towards some of the goals that we identified in the evaluation phase. It is important to understand that, while therapy can bring about personal growth in the long-term, it can be unsettling in the short-term. Successful therapy can also have unsettling consequences for people with whom you have close relationships. Because therapy is about change, others may struggle with the changes that you choose to make. Therapy will probably work better for you if you feel free to discuss any difficulties that you may have in the process of therapy, either with regard to the therapy itself or the content of what we discuss. Therapy can sometimes evoke strong emotions. For this reason, it is important that you feel entirely comfortable to speak about any dilemmas or difficulties you may have at any time during our work together. You or I may at any time consider that it is better to end therapy, for any number of reasons. Please raise this if you feel that it may be better to end therapy, so that we can draw it to a close in a way that allows you to get as much out of the process as possible.
My personal and professional ethics require me to keep everything you say confidential. My notes are kept locked away and I will only pass on information with your consent (this includes partners, family members or anyone else in your life). You are of course free to discuss your therapeutic process with whomever you like, confidentiality only applies to myself as your psychologist. There are only 3 emergency exceptions to confidentiality. Please read them in the next FAQ.
There are only 3 exceptions to confidentiality. If I have reason to believe that you are a danger to (1) yourself or (2) somebody else, then I have a legal duty to inform someone. I may alert others in the interest of your safety or the safety of the threatened person. This does not mean that you cannot discuss thoughts of harming yourself or others. It simply means that I am legally obliged to inform someone if there is a realistic risk of you changing these thoughts into actions. If you get into difficulty with the law, (3) I may be subpoenaed, in which case I may be legally required to divulge aspects of our work together. If any of the above ever happened, I would make every effort to keep you informed of the process. In my practice, the reality is that I seldom need to break confidentiality, usually only to ensure that my client remains safe in an emergency. I have always discussed this with clients in person, before informing a third party.
I usually see clients once a week. Towards the end of our work together, I might change the schedule to an appointment once every two weeks. It is impossible for me to predict how many sessions we will need. If you can only attend a limited number of sessions, then please discuss this with me so that we can plan the course of therapy in such a way that you get the maximum benefit from our time together.
Each session is scheduled for 60 minutes. However, I spend 5-10 minutes at the end of each session in private, making notes and reflecting on what happened in the session. This allows me to reflect on what helped you in the session, but also to plan our future work. During therapy it can be difficult to look at the bigger picture, while at the same time attending to what you are saying. It is very helpful to me to be able to spend a few minutes to think about you and your difficulties after you have left the room.
I charge a cash fee of R750 per session for private clients. This is a reduced cash rate and is payable on or before the day of the session, via cash or EFT. Please do not hesitate to speak to us at any time if you have difficulties with payment for any reason. We should be able to find a solution to payment problems to prevent them from getting in the way of our therapeutic work together. We would prefer to have an agreement with you regarding the payment of accounts than to have to hand over long overdue accounts to a legal firm. Please be advised that appointments not cancelled with at least 24 hour’s notice will incur the full fee. See the FAQ on cancellations for more information.
My practice is contracted to medical aid schemes. We claim directly from your medical aid via an electronic system. Medical aid schemes vary widely in how much they are prepared to cover of this charge, so you are well advised to check with your medical aid as early as possible. Find out how much of the rate they cover and how many 60 minute sessions of psychotherapy with a psychologist are covered. In the event that your medical aid does not pay the claim, you will remain responsible for the account at the cash rate. Unfortunately we do not have access to information regarding your medical aid account. Please take the time to contact your medical aid personally to get the above information. Sometimes, medical aid funds require a diagnosis before they will pay a psychologist’s account, and some may refuse to pay without one. Please feel free to discuss with me the diagnosis that is entered on your account and question any consequences that this may have.
You are welcome to cancel an appointment, provided that you do so with at least 24 hour’s notice. Our appointments are essentially bookings for a specific 60 minute time slot. If you are unable to keep an appointment, please let us know at least 24 hours before the starting time of the appointment. You will not be charged for appointments cancelled (for whatever reason) with due notice. If you cancel within less than 24 hours notice, you will be responsible for the cost of the appointment.
However, if you cancel your appointment late and I have open time slots available later in the week, then we can shift your appointment and you won’t be charged for the session that you miss. Of course, this won’t always be possible since it depends on how full my diary is. If I am fully booked then you will still be charged for the session you miss. Naturally, booking a replacement session will be harder to do for time slots towards the end of the working week.
You may be consulting other professionals about the problem that brought you here. It is important that these people know that we are working together if it is likely to impact on their work with you. In the same way, I will need to know whether you are suffering from any physical conditions that may affect your symptoms. I would like your permission to correspond with your doctor or other specialist, so please tell me if you have any difficulties with this issue. The correspondence that I send other health professionals is brief and does not include unnecessary personal details. I will always get your permission and inform you of what I will be communicating, before I share information with another healthcare provider.
More questions? Contact me
Fontana Health Centre is open for the booking of appointments, account queries and administration:
Monday – Friday 8am – 5pm.
(You can contact my practice Manager Elizabeth on 021 982 2554)
I am available for appointments between these times:
Monday 9am – 5pm
Tuesday 8am – 3pm
Wednesday 8am – 3pm
Thursday 10:30am – 6pm
Friday: No appointment times.