We help people live more authentically
© Lifeworks 2012
Consultations with Sutara Ling
Informed consent for adolescents clients
What to expect
The purpose of meeting with a therapist is to get help with problems in your life that are bothering you or that are keeping you from being successful in important areas. You may be here because you wanted to talk to someone about these problems. Or, you may be here because your parent, guardian, doctor or teacher had concerns about you.
When we meet, we will discuss these problems. I will ask questions, listen to you and explore ways of addressing these problems. It is important that you feel comfortable talking to me about the issues that are bothering you. Sometimes these issues will include things you don’t want your parents or guardians to know about. For most people, knowing that what they say will be kept private helps them feel more comfortable and have more trust in their counselor or therapist. Privacy, also called confidentiality, is an important and necessary part of good therapy.
How I work
My commitment is to helping you be yourself more fully.
The base of my approach is Gestalt therapy. That means we don't just try to solve problems - it's also about increasing your awareness, expanding your range of choices, and learning how to improve your relationships. I intend to do this in a way which respects your point of view, as well as including my own. I expect that I will also be challenged and learn from our meeting. I am open to being questioned by you if you think something doesn't fit.
What I don’t do is attempt to ‘fix’ you, rely on giving advice or solutions, or support you to remain in a victim role. This is about working together, and the more active you are, the more you will get from the process.
As a general rule, I will keep the information you share with me in our sessions confidential, unless I have your written consent to disclose certain information. There are, however, important exceptions to this rule that are important for you to understand before you share personal information with me in a therapy session. In some situations, I am required by law or by the guidelines of my profession to disclose information whether or not I have your permission. I have listed some of these situations below.
Confidentiality cannot be maintained when:
Communicating with your parent(s) or guardian(s)
Except for situations such as those mentioned above, I will not tell your parent or guardian specific things you share with me in our private therapy sessions. This includes activities and behavior that your parent/guardian would not approve of — or would be upset by — but that do not put you at risk of serious and immediate harm. However, if your risk-taking behavior becomes more serious, then I will need to use my professional judgment to decide whether you are in serious and immediate danger of being harmed. If I feel that you are in such danger, I will communicate this information to your parent or guardian.
Example: If you tell me that you have tried alcohol at a few parties, I would keep this information confidential. If you tell me that you are drinking and driving or that you are a passenger in a car with a driver who is drunk, I would not keep this information confidential from your parent/guardian. If you tell me, or if I believe based on things you’ve told me, that you are addicted to alcohol, I would not keep this information confidential.
Example: If you tell me that you are having protected sex with a boyfriend or girlfriend, I would keep this information confidential. If you tell me that, on several occasions, you have engaged in unprotected sex with people you do not know or in unsafe situations, I will not keep this information confidential. You can always ask me questions about the types of information I would disclose. You can ask in the form of “hypothetical situations,” in other words: “If someone told you that they were doing ________, would you tell their parents?”
Even if I have agreed to keep information confidential – to not tell your parent or guardian – I may believe that it is important for them to know what is going on in your life. In these situations, I will encourage you to tell your parent/guardian and will help you find the best way to tell them. Also, when meeting with your parents, I may sometimes describe problems in general terms, without using specifics, in order to help them know how to be more helpful to you.
You should also know that, by law , your parent/guardian has the right to see any written records I keep about our sessions. It is extremely rare that a parent/guardian would ever request to look at these records, and I ask them to not exercise this right in order to respect your privacy.
Communicating with other adults
School: I will not share any information with your school unless I have your permission and permission from your parent or guardian. Sometimes I may request to speak to someone at your school to find out how things are going for you. Also, it may be helpful in some situations for me to give suggestions to your teacher or counselor at school. If I want to contact your school, or if someone at your school wants to contact me, I will discuss it with you and ask for your written permission. A very unlikely situation might come up in which I do not have your permission but both I and your parent or guardian believe that it is very important for me to be able to share certain information with someone at your school. In this situation, I will use my professional judgment to decide whether to share any information.
Doctors: Sometimes your doctor and I may need to work together; for example, if you need to take medication in addition to seeing a therapist. I will get your written permission and permission from your parent/guardian in advance to share information with your doctor. The only time I will share information with your doctor even if I don’t have your permission is if you are doing something that puts you at risk for serious and immediate physical/medical harm.
I write notes as I go. These notes not judging you, just describing what we do. All records are confidential with the limitations above, and are always open for you to view your own file.
Attendance and cancellation
24 hours notice for cancellation is required or the session must be paid for in full, excepting in cases of emergency.
If you are late for a session, we will still end at the arranged time.
If I am late for a session, I will extend your session by that much time. If this is problematic for you, then I will owe you that portion of time.
If I miss a session, or have to cancel it with less than 24 hours notice to you, then I will owe you a session - at no charge to you.
You can reach me in the following ways
Phone in Australia: 02 8064 7431.
Phone in the USA: 914 236-6959
Please indicate your agreement to these conditions.