Lifestyle

Protecting your patients as a counsellor 

Becoming a counsellor can be one of the most rewarding jobs as you help people to move through dark times in their lives. In the UK, one in four people suffer from a mental health disorder each year, which highlights the importance of counsellors. 

Whilst mental health issues can sometimes be treated using medicine, speaking to someone is often an effective approach. As a counsellor, you’ll get to the root of the problem and rationalise emotions, improving general mental state. 

A successful counsellor will help to protect their patients and ensure they feel safe in their care. Without this, patients may find it hard to trust them and open up about their daily struggles. Here are some of the best ways you can protect your patients as a counsellor. 

Be accessible

Being accessible to patients means making sure they can get in contact with you easily. A patient may have a breakdown when they least expect it, so being able to contact a counsellor quickly is important to make sure they feel supported.

Some patients may have physical barriers too, so counselling locations should have disabled access. 

Insurance 

As with any of the 5.6 million small businesses in the UK, insurance will be necessary to protect from any issues that may arise on the job. Getting the right counsellors’ insurance will also help the business to seem more reputable which will attract more clients. 

Prevent data leaks 

Counselling is an opportunity for patients to open up about their deepest emotions, leaving them feeling extremely vulnerable. You may take notes or record the meeting for reference, but you must inform the client and get their consent first. This can be a scary prospect for patients, as they wouldn’t want what they’ve said to fall into the wrong hands. 

To put their mind at ease, counsellors must lock all physical files away and put a password on computer files so that the information is for their eyes only. It may help to inform patients of these security protocols so they feel confident that what they say won’t be heard elsewhere. 

Creating a safe space

Seeing a counsellor can initially stir even more anxiety in a patient and that is especially true if an office isn’t welcoming. A counsellor should do all they can to create a calm environment that is conducive to patients opening up. 

This includes having comfortable seating in a room that feels welcoming upon entry. Doors and windows should be closed to ensure no one can hear the conversation. Providing cosy seating and soft furnishings will make your clients feel more at ease.

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