Paying for the therapy of others
There is no problem with paying for the therapy of others, in fact I feel it is a rather wonderful and supportive act; however, there are very important ethical and professional boundaries that must be maintained. In this instance the ‘Client’ is the person who comes to therapy, the ‘Payer’ is the person who pays for therapy.
Initial enquiries would ideally be made by the Client with little or no involvement of the Payer. If you contact me as a Payer, at the Client’s behest, then of course there is no problem, but do please appraise the prospective Client of any discussions ensuring they are OK with this. As the Payer please try to avoid specifying what you might feel is the ‘problem’. If the prospective Payer notices a need to specify the problem or their needs are linked to a therapeutic outcome, then perhaps Family Therapy might be a better starting point and we would work together in a small group. As a Therapist I can only work with the needs of Clients, not those of Payers. In fact the voicing of the Payer’s needs or their perception of the problem to the Therapist can be counter-productive as it might ‘contaminate’ the therapeutic relationship with the Client.
It is essential that before any bookings are made the Client must contact me themselves, indicating that working together is what they want. Client choice and consent are essential to creating and ethical therapeutic relationship.
The Payer will be outside the boundary of confidentiality which surrounds the Client and Therapist, so without the consent of the Client I cannot divulge any information to the Payer, including whether the Client has attended or missed appointments, unless the Client agrees.
As the Payer, your adherence to the payment terms described on the ‘Client Information’ and minimising any contacting the Therapist directly is important. If the Therapist has to ask the Client to resolve payment issues with the Payer, such as non-payment, this can be unhelpful and unnecessarily stressful for both Client and Therapist. Such situations may seem to result in the Payer seeming to ‘intrude’ on the therapeutic work. The Therapist having to liaise with the Payer over payments is undesirable and to be avoided where possible.
The payment terms are outlined on the ‘Client Information’ page, ideally the Client will pay by cash each session; however, if the Payer would prefer to pay directly then fees can be paid in advance of the session, typically the day before. If paying by cash in advance, then please put the cash payment through my letter box in an envelope with a reference to the Clients initials.