INFORMATION FOR CLIENTS
Life Matters Psychologists is committed to improving the health and wellbeing of our clients and therefore we see it as essential to deliver best practice ethical standards in all areas of our business. We have outlined our general rules and guidelines below for your information.
Please arrive 20 minutes early for your first appointment as we ask that you complete a Client Consent Form before your initial session. The Consent Forms helps you to understand access to information, confidentiality, fees and our cancellation policy. We ask all clients to complete a new Client Consent Form every 12 months.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
Given Newcastle and Lake Macquarie’s population (moderately small in comparison to capital cities), we may not be able to initially identify a ‘conflict of interest’. The Australian Psychological Societies (APS) code of ethics guidelines outlines that psychologists should not engage in any multiple relationships with clients. This means that a psychologist who sees you individually, as a family or as a couple can only continue to see you in that capacity and can not engage in providing counselling or other roles to you outside of the initial roles established. For example, if you see a psychologist individually, that psychologist can not move into seeing you as part of a family or couple and further to this, they are unable to see other family members of yours if they are already engaged in seeing you for counselling. This is to help avoid any negative consequences associated with dual or multiple relationships for you as client and to ensure we remain a neutral party. Unfortunately we are unable to always identify if possible conflicts exist. However, if a conflict comes to our attention, we may need to refer you to someone else in the practice.
CHILDREN, FAMILIES AND COUPLES
We enjoy helping children, families and couples. However, in completing this work, we at times discover that children are being abused, neglected or are deemed ‘at risk’. Please note that all psychologists are legally bound to be Mandatory Reporters to the Department of Community Services if these circumstances are evident.
PEOPLE AT RISK
If a client is showing as suicidal or mentally unwell placing themselves or others at significant risk of harm, our psychologists have a duty of care to clients as well as the public. This means they may need to inform others (family members, doctors, police services) who can help to ensure client safety. Confidentiality is not in place when these circumstances are presented to a psychologist.
Unfortunately we are not able to provide independent medico-legal psychological assessments including those related to psychological injury or criminal matters. Medico-legal assessments are a specialty service offered by approved psychological practices. It is impossible for us to become an independent and objective expert witness for the court after client mental health-focused assessment and treatment has commenced. We do not collect extensive information often required in relation to these requests. Collecting information later does not improve our ability to become an independent and objective witness for the court.
If you engage in therapy with us at Life Matters and your solicitor later seeks a report on your behalf, please note that we can only provide treatment related reports or support letters such as special consideration letters. Please note, these requests require additional time to complete and therefore will be charged at the psychologists’ hourly rate.