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, then please copy the prospective prospective Client on any emails. As the Payer please try to avoid specifying what you feel is the ‘problem’. If the prospective Payer notices a need to specify the problem or their needs are linked to the 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 extremely counter-productive as it can ‘contaminate’ the therapeutic relationship with the Client.
It is essential that before any bookings are made the Client must contact me themselves. Client choice and consent are essential to creating and ethical therapeutic relationship.
The Payer is 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.
As the Payer, your adherence to the payment terms described on the ‘Client Information’ and not contacting the Therapist directly is important. If the Therapist has to ask the Client to resolve payment issues with the Payer this can be damaging to the relationship and unnecessarily stressful for both Client and Therapist. Such situations often result in the Payer seeming to ‘intrude’ on the therapeutic work. The Therapist having to liaise with the Payer over payments is also highly undesirable and to be avoided at all costs.
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.