WHO WE ARE/OUR ETHOS
We are a free and confidential service run by women for women over the age of 18 who live in Hertfordshire.
We work in a non-directive way which means that we will try to help you to find ways to understand and deal with your issues so that they no longer dominate your life. We will believe you, respect you and support you in your decisions. We will never judge you or be shocked by anything you tell us. You should feel free to express yourself in your own way and be confident that your counsellors are ready to hear anything that you need to say to them.
We provide a confidential service. We do not keep notes of what you tell us. We do keep your contact details and dates of appointments. These are kept in a secure place.
We will not discuss your case with anyone outside of the group except our external supervisors unless we believe that an identifiable vulnerable child or person is at risk of harm. If this were the case, we would discuss this with you and jointly decide on the action to be taken to prevent future harm.
If you have an active police case pending, or you are waiting to go to court, there are limits to the work we can undertake with you until such time as the case is concluded. We will be able to discuss the effects incidents have had on you and how you might address these through use of different strategies but we will not be able to talk about the material events of the case.
If we are working with you via video counselling, we assure you that there is no recording of your meetings and we need to be clear that there must be no recording (audio or video) by you as the client.
APPOINTMENTS & CONTACTS
At the end of each meeting, you will be asked if you would like to make another appointment. We will never assume that you do.
Should you not be able to attend an appointment for any reason, please notify your counsellors by contacting the helpline on 01707 276512 at your earliest opportunity, and where possible, in plenty of time before the appointment. If you fail to attend an appointment and have not contacted us or do not respond to our subsequent text or email within 7 days we will be unable to guarantee to keep counsellors available for you.
We will of course be happy to continue providing support on the telephone and will discuss with you whether or not you wish to be placed back on the waiting list for future face to face counselling.
HOW OFTEN WILL YOU COME TO COUNSELLING?
We suggest meeting on a fortnightly basis as our experience has shown that this is the optimum timescale for a healthy balanced recovery. During your counselling sessions you may discuss a variety of matters that you will need to give further thought to in between sessions.
HOW LONG WE PROVIDE THE SERVICE FOR
We will aim to work with you initially for 20 sessions. During this time we will regularly review how you are getting on and discuss with you what you want to achieve. If towards the end of the 20 session period all parties are satisfied that our support remains of benefit to you and the work you are doing continues to be relevant to the nature of our service we will discuss with you how long you think you will need to continue and agree a further review at that time.
HOW TO STOP MEETING US
When you feel that the service can be of no further help to you, please feel able to say that you will not be coming back. If you subsequently change your mind, we will be happy to discuss with you placing you back on the waiting list.
Please feel free to call us if you would like to talk to someone, even if you have told us that you are not coming back. You can and leave a message (please remind us of your number) and we will call you back as soon as we can. If you would like to speak to somebody specifically, please ask.
Whilst we respect your lifestyle choices and recognise that substance abuse and self-harm can sometimes provide temporary relief from difficult issues, we cannot condone the use of these methods and we will not be able to meet with you if you are unfit to fully participate in the meeting. We cannot condone you hurting yourself at our meetings and will ask you to leave if you do so.
ABUSE OF THE SERVICE/COUNSELLORS
Neither verbal nor physical abuse of a counsellor(s) will be tolerated. In the event that a counsellor is treated in a rude or abusive manner, the service may be withdrawn.
SUGGESTIONS AND FEEDBACK
We are always looking for ways to improve and develop our service. When you decide that you no longer wish to meet with us you will be asked to complete a feedback form which can be done anonymously if you prefer. In the meantime, if you have any suggestions or feedback about our ongoing service or strategic planning we would be very pleased to receive them.
ACCESS TO POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
It is our policy to provide open, honest and transparent services. Full access to our Policies, Procedures, Annual Report including audited accounts are available upon request.
Please ask your counsellors if you would like to see any or all of these. In the interests of convenience, we would ask that whenever possible, notice be given of your request.
We hope that you will not have reason to do so but should you wish to make a complaint about any aspect of our service, you may initially address this with the person concerned. If however, this is not a suitable course of action for you, you should make your complaint in writing to: The Trustees, PO Box 256, Hatfield, Herts AL10 ONE or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A copy of our complaints procedure and form are also available upon request.
If you have any questions about any of this information, please address these to your counsellors or contact the helpline number.