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Protecting your clients

Protecting your clients is a key concern for private practitioners, whether you are a psychotherapist, an osteopath or a hypnotherapist.

In this article, we talk about a variety of risks faced by private practitioners; from the risk of client self-harm faced by psychotherapists, to the universal risk of client confidentiality.

Client injury

Every private practitioner faces the possibility of their client becoming injured due to an accident on their premises, or as a result of the treatment itself. Make sure you’re protected against this risk by reading our article on insurance for the private practitioner.

Client confidentiality

Client confidentiality is vital - not just ethically, but legally. It’s your responsibility to protect the information that you hold about your clients. This includes their names and addresses, their treatment records and details of any medication. Find out more here.

The risk of self-harm, or harm to others

If you’re a psychotherapist or psychiatrist, or any other kind of talking therapist, you’ll be well aware of the risk of self-harm, suicide or harm to others. It’s important to think about (and put down in writing) what you will do in the event that you identify such a risk. This will help you to act quickly and with confidence. Here are some things you may wish to consider:

  • arrange an emergency appointment with your client to assess the situation as soon as you become concerned
  • contact their GP or an appropriate medical professional immediately if you think there is a serious risk
  • make detailed notes of events - what your client did, what you did, and how the medical professionals responded
  • put a clause in the terms and conditions of your therapy contract stating that client information will be strictly confidential EXCEPT where you suspect they may harm themselves or others

Take action

To find out more about risk management, contact your professional body - they may be able to give you information or further advice.