As a counsellor, your ultimate goal is to help your client. Working towards this starts even before your actual counselling sessions–upon drafting the counselling contract.
Early counselling sessions will entail obtaining a lot of information. There will be many details that will be difficult to remember, especially because the client is likely to be under emotional distress. Nonetheless, you need to make sure that the details are clear. You’ll still need to discuss them verbally, but this won’t be enough. That’s where the contract comes in.
You must pay attention to the contents of the contract. Many disregard this as they view the contract as just a required document. This line of thinking won’t be good for both you and your client.
There is no single formula for what the contract must contain. Each counsellor and client is an individual--with unique concerns that must be addressed within the contract. Still, there is a standard form that contains the common basic details, like the following:
Overview of the agreement. This gives your client a general idea of what the counselling will involve.
Definition of terms. This is important to let your client/s know exactly what terms, particularly “confidentiality,” mean in the context of your agreement.
Details on the schedule and payment.
There are online resource providers of standard forms that are safe and ethical. This will ensure you get the most appropriate contract for your client, thereby saving you time and effort.