@theretreatyork18 September 2019
Service Agreement – Online Therapy
A full version of this Agreement is available here.
Online therapy offers flexibility and convenience and it is especially helpful for people who have difficulty attending our services in person. As with face to face sessions, it is important that the online therapy process is as consistent as possible in both the time of day the appointment takes place and the location of the appointment so we do not normally offer a mix of online and face to face sessions.
If you choose to have your therapy assessment online, during the assessment we will explore what therapy can offer you and whether online therapy is suitable. If we find online therapy is not suitable we will discuss this with you and try to suggest suitable alternatives.
The Retreat uses an encrypted video calling system called VSee for all online therapy and assessments. VSee is similar in functionality to Skype but is recognised as more appropriate for use in clinical settings. To access the free software you will need to download and register with VSee. It would be useful if you could familiarise yourself with VSee in preparation for your appointment so that you know how to use it and can be ready on time for you therapy session. You can find further information about VSee on their website https://vsee.com
Please note that poor internet connection may interfere with the quality of the video conference call so please read the Online Therapy Technical Guide and also test your equipment before your appointment.
The Retreat is not a crisis service so in all cases of clinical emergency such as severe distress or any urgent mental health difficulties you must contact your GP, local medical emergency service and/or any other local appropriate services. Also, no online therapy session will be permissible if your GP’s contact details have not been provided.
At the moment The Retreat can only offer online services to clients based in the UK.
What you can expect from us?
- All VSee assessment and therapy sessions will be undertaken in a secure, confidential room.
- Only clinicians directly involved in your assessment and therapy sessions will be present in the room.
- Instructions for joining the video conference call will be provided to you by your clinician before the consultation starts.
- Please use the fastest connection you have available (mobile or broadband) on a device that has the highest resolution/quality webcam/rear facing camera for viewing. Please see our Online Therapy Technical Guide for more information.
- During the consultation, notes will be documented in your care record by your named clinician(s). You have a right to formally request a copy of your information, please contact our office on 01904 430370 and our staff will supply you with the necessary application form.
- No therapy session will be recorded unless there is a specific mutual consent form agreed and signed between all parties involved.
What we expect from you?
- To be in a room where your assessment or therapy session cannot be overheard or seen by anyone else. In the event of this not being the case and confidential information is disclosed to a third party during a session you will accept full responsibility for that disclosure and The Retreat is not accountable.
- The consultation will start at the point that the therapist first attempts to make contact with you.
- The therapist will attempt to make contact at least every 5 minutes for 15 minutes after the start of the session. If you are not available during this time slot the consultation will be discontinued and non-attendance charges will be applied. Our standard cancellation and fee policy is available here.
- You should contact the service via telephone as soon as possible if you are having any difficulties with connectivity that may create problems for the therapist in attempting contacting you via VSee
- No session should be recorded unless there is specific explicit mutual consent agreed between all parties involved. If recording is agreed the content must not be placed on any social media site and should only be accessible to you.
- You are responsible for confidential storage of any recorded material and it is advised that any information is stored on an encrypted device that is only accessible by you. The Retreat will not be held responsible for the incorrect storage or loss of any confidential information stored on any equipment it has not provided.
- The confidentiality of all data must be respected at all times, by all parties concerned.
As with all video calling systems there is some element of risk to communications being intercepted or hacked. No system is 100% secure and The Retreat does not imply that this is the case. However, the security risks associated with using this solution for routine confidential and sensitive patient discussions have been assessed and are considered to be relatively low.
Computer systems are in general designed to share information with others, we would therefore suggest that you only use private secured networks and avoid shared connections. Also consider turning off or disabling any unnecessary applications and ensure that your computer is regularly checked for computer viruses and spyware.
Further information about online security can be found on the Information Commissioners Office Website https://ico.org.uk/your-data-matters/online/
If either party experience technical difficulties then both parties will endeavour to email straight away and will try to reconnect online. If more than 15 minutes of the overall session has not been carried out due to Retreat related technical problems, the therapist will offer to supplement this time. If this is not possible a reduced rate for that session, proportionate to the service received will be offered.