Policies

The Counseling Center at CELA Policy Statement, HIPAA Statement, and the Privacy Notice provide important information for clients. If you decide you would like to work with us, you will be given a hardcopy of the Policy Statement to sign.

Read all documents carefully! Sign the Policy Statement only if you believe you understand what the Policy Statement, HIPAA Statement, and the Privacy Notice mean. Your signature indicates that you have read them and agree to their conditions. You will be given a copy of this document, after signing it, to keep for your records.

Contact The Counseling Center at CELA with any questions you may have.

Policy Statement

Confidentiality:

The information shared in sessions, and the written records of the sessions, are confidential. This means they cannot be shared with anyone without your permission.

However, there are certain situations when it is required by law to disclose information.

Disclosure is required by law when there is a reasonable suspicion of abuse or neglect of a child, of a disabled person, of the elderly, of animals; when a client presents as a danger to him-/herself (for example, is suicidal); when a client presents as a danger to others; when there is prenatal exposure to controlled substances; when a client is contemplating it and there is the possible future commission of a crime or harmful act. In these situations, counselors are professionally required to notify the legal authorities and to make reasonable attempts to notify the client’s family.

In some states, when a client presents as a danger to others, the counselor is required by law to notify the person who is in possible danger of being harmed by the client of the potential threat.

Disclosure may be required if a client is involved in a legal proceeding and has put his or her mental status at issue in a litigation initiated by the client, the defendant may have the right to obtain therapy records and/or testimony from the Counseling Center at CELA and the treating counselor.

If a client files a complaint with a licensing board, his or her records may be required to support the complaint.

Disclosure may be required in certain emergency situations, either while a person is a current client of The Counseling Center at CELA or after termination, when the counselor becomes concerned about a client’s safety, or about a client possibly injuring someone else, or about a client receiving proper psychiatric care. In these situations, the counselor will do whatever possible within the limits of the law to prevent a client from injuring themselves or others, and to ensure that the client receives proper medical care. The counselor may also contact the person(s) whose name was provided by the client as an emergency contact and/or a client’s family.

Disclosures may be required by health insurance companies in order to process claims and authorize treatment. In these situations, only the minimum amount of information necessary will be shared with the insurance company. Please note that The Counseling Center at CELA and its counselors have no control over what insurance companies will do with the information submitted, or who has access to the information.

Counselors at The Counseling Center at CELA often consult with other professionals in order to provide the highest quality care and services. We strive to fully maintain client confidentiality, therefore client names and other identifying information are never shared during consultations.

The Counseling Center at CELA, its counselors, and its clients agree that should there be any legal proceedings including but not limited to divorce disputes, custody disputes, lawsuits, injuries, neither the client, the client’s attorneys, nor any other person or agency acting in behalf of the client will call on The Counseling Center at CELA and/or treating counselors to testify in court or at any other type of proceeding, nor will a disclosure of session records be requested for these purposes.

The Counseling Center at CELA and its counselors will, if it is still appropriate after the above exclusions, release protected information to you or to a person or agency you specify upon your written request. Please note: The Counseling Center at CELA and its counselors may assess that a release of information may be harmful to a client. If such an assessment is made, information will not be released.

Records Management:

The Counseling Center at CELA and its counselors keep and maintain client session records. These records may include communications between sessions and information provided by other professionals in addition to client and session documentation.

Should a counselor be away for an extended period of time, for example, on vacation, The Counseling Center at CELA’s Custodian of Records will have access to client records in case of an emergency.

Records are kept under two locks and are available to others only with the client’s written permission for release and according to the conditions detailed above. Records are kept for a minimum of ten years (or ten years after a client’s date of majority.) The Counseling Center at CELA will attempt to notify clients when their records are to be destroyed.

Clients have the right to review or receive a summary of their records at any time except in limited legal or emergency situations or when The Counseling Center at CELA and/or its counselors have assessed that releasing such information may be harmful in some way. In these cases, The Counseling Center at CELA will provide and/or it’s counselors will provide the records to an appropriate and legitimate mental health professional of the client’s choice.

Emergency Procedures:

If you are experiencing a crisis or emergency call 911 immediately. The Counseling Center at CELA does not provide crisis and/or emergency services.

Between-Session Contacting:

Should you need to contact The Counseling Center at CELA or its counselors between scheduled sessions, please call 617-431-3849 between 10AM and 6PM (ET), Monday through Friday. Do not leave confidential information in voicemail messages. Calls are returned as soon as possible, typically within two to three business days.

If it is earlier than 10AM (ET), later than 6PM (ET), or the weekend, please send an email message to our office using the online message box below. Do not leave confidential information in these messages. Messages are responded to as soon as possible, typically within two to three business days.

If you are experiencing a crisis or emergency call 911 immediately. The Counseling Center at CELA does not provide crisis and/or emergency services.

Email and Instant Messaging:

The Counseling Center at CELA uses HIPAA-compliant emailing through specific online providers for all of its client emailing and instant messaging of in-session communications that involve disclosure(s) of confidential or protected health information.

The Counseling Center at CELA and its counselors may use other email providers for communications outside of sessions and/or for communications that do not involve disclosure(s) of confidential or protected health information. The Counseling Center at CELA and its counselors cannot guarantee the confidentiality of these email communications and have no control over who may see them when in electronic transit, therefore at no time will personal, medical, or identifying client information be mentioned in any non-HIPAA compliant email communication.

The Counseling Center at CELA and its counselors cannot be held responsible for the privacy, security, encryption, or choice of email and/or instant messaging provider that is made by a client for their use when sending and receiving email and instant messaging communications with The Counseling Center at CELA and its counselors.

The Counseling Center at CELA and its counselors do not use instant messaging with clients.

The Counseling Center at CELA and its counselors do not use instant messaging with other professionals or agencies. Communications with other professionals and agencies are conducted in person, over the telephone, and/or virtual conferencing through HIPAA-compliant providers of these services

The client’s signature on this document indicates their agreement and their understanding of these terms.

Telephone: 

If you are experiencing a crisis or emergency call 911 immediately. The Counseling Center at CELA does not provide crisis and/or emergency services.

The telephone number to contact The Counseling Center at CELA is 617-431-3849. Messages can be left on the voicemail. Calls will be returned as soon as possible, typically within two to three business days. Please do not leave detailed or private health information in the voicemail message.

The Counseling Center at CELA and its counselors will have occasions to leave voicemail messages for clients. These messages will not disclose any of the client’s protected health information. Should a client not wish The Counseling Center at CELA or its counselors to leave voicemail messages, or has specific requests regarding the phrasing of messages, this will be discussed during initial sessions.

Telephone conversations between The Counseling Center at CELA, its counselors, and clients, whether in-sessions or outside of sessions, are not recorded.

The Counseling Center at CELA and its counselors respect their clients’ confidentiality and fully comply with HIPAA regulations regarding protected health information and privacy.

Texting:

The Counseling Center at CELA and its counselors do not use texting with clients because text messages are not HIPAA-compliant. Texts received from current or former clients will not be responded to or answered by The Counseling Center at CELA or its counselors.

Video/Virtual Conferencing:

The Counseling Center at CELA offers counseling and support sessions via video conferencing as an option for receiving services. Video conferencing of sessions is conducted between clients, The Counseling Center at CELA, and its counselors and sessions are never recorded in order to maintain client privacy.

The Counseling Center at CELA does everything in its power to support HIPAA compliance  regarding clients’ protected health information and privacy. However, The Counseling Center at CELA and its counselors cannot be held responsible for the privacy, security, encryption, or choice of virtual conferencing service provider that is made by a client for their use when communicating with The Counseling Center at CELA and its counselors.

The client’s signature on this document indicates their agreement and their understanding of these terms.

Social Networking Media and Search Engines:

The Counseling Center at CELA and its counselors do not “follow” current or former clients on any social networking website or blogs.

The Counseling Center at CELA and its counselors do not accept friend requests, or requests to join, or any other requests from current or former clients for any social networking website.

The Counseling Center at CELA and its counselors do not “follow” and/or “fan” and/or “friend” and/or “like” and/or “don’t like” and/or communicate with current or former clients on any social networking website.

If a client needs to contact their counselor or contact The Counseling Center at CELA, the accepted communication methods are listed above under the headings “Emergency Procedures,” “Email and Instant Messaging,” “Telephone,” and “Virtual Conferencing.”

The Counseling Center at CELA and its counselors do not search for clients on search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Dogpile, Ixquick, etc. Exceptions to this are emergency situations where The Counseling Center at CELA and/or its counselors suspect a client is in danger and the client has not been in touch with his or her counselor or with The Counseling Center at CELA by way of the usual means (telephone, session emails, session instant messaging, session virtual conferencing, etc.) In these instances, a social media networking website and/or a search engine may be used to find another person close to a client or in order to ascertain a client’s welfare. These are extremely rare instances. Should The Counseling Center at CELA or its counselors need to resort to such measures, it will be discussed with the client during the next session.

The Therapy Process:

Taking part in the therapeutic journey can have many positive results which may benefit and improve many areas of your life. The experience and work of therapy can also bring forward painful events and memories requiring your dedication and effort, honesty, and openness to move through. Remembering, talking about, and sharing unpleasant feelings, events, or thoughts can cause feelings of discomfort, anxiety, sleeplessness, depression, anger, sadness, disappointment. Email, IM, and telephone therapies can be limited by the lack of visual cues. As with everything in life, there are no guarantees of positive results with therapy, or even intended results. Change and growth can be unpredictable. Every step along the way, the decision to continue is yours.

The Counseling Center at CELA and its counselors use Creative Arts Therapy in their work with clients. Through music, visual arts, language arts, psychology, journaling, shared stories, horticulture, and permaculture arts, dance and movement, culinary arts, and more, we are able to examine ourselves, our lives, our goals, and our direction.

Our approach is holistic and integrative. We always consider the whole person. The integrative approach is a special model of healthcare that focuses on the person and not on the disease. Plans for care and individual goals are developed with the client’s active participation in partnership with the counselor.

Treatment Process and Treatment Planning:

Typical sessions run from fifty minutes to eighty minutes, but his will vary depending upon which mode of service delivery a client is using and/or in what combination. (For example, telephone only or virtual conferencing only, or a combination of email and telephone, etc.) The frequency and length of sessions are carefully planned to match each individual’s needs and situation.

Assessments are completed within a reasonable time-frame, typically two to three weeks. Evaluations include a written assessment based on client interviews; an individualized plan and recommendations; relevant resources list; outside referral suggestions, if necessary. Assessments and evaluations are usually completed before online counseling and support services begin.

Information and history are gathered during the initial sessions. Many questions may be asked. You will need to complete various forms and questionnaires. You may need to request your medical records from your primary care physician and/or other healthcare providers. The information gathered is used to help formulate the assessment. The counselor will discuss with you what your objectives are, what questions you may have, the issues or concerns you want addressed.

All client questions are welcome. If you should have any unanswered questions about any of the approaches used in your sessions, about possible risks, or about your individualized plan, please ask. It is your right to know about treatment plans, risks, benefits. If you feel you might benefit from a treatment not provided by The Counseling Center at CELA and/or its counselors, we are ethically obligated to help you to obtain those treatments.

Termination:

An important part of the initial assessment process is determining if The Counseling Center at CELA is a right fit for you. The Counseling Center at CELA tries to not accept clients whom they feel they cannot best help. In these situations, you will be provided with referral information to more appropriate agencies and/or practitioners for you to contact.

If at any time you would like another professional’s opinion or want to consult with another counselor, The Counseling Center at CELA will assist you in finding a qualified practitioner and provide to them the necessary information, with your written consent.

You have the right to terminate therapy at any time. If you choose to do so, The Counseling Center at CELA will provide you with names of other qualified professionals and/or agencies with whom you may prefer to work. Typically, there is a final exit session between client and counselor where this information can be shared.

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