Client agreement

We want to make sure you know what to expect from us and what we expect from our clients in return. The information on this page sets out how we work with you, our colleagues and third parties. By attending your appointment you agree to information on this page and our data protection and privacy polices.

How we work with you

We meet with thousands of clients every year and we want them to get the most effective help possible. That’s why, if you’re coming as a couple, we’ll talk with you together and individually because this helps us all to work out if Relate is the best place for you to be or whether another resource could be more helpful. Many clients find that those initial conversations help them to make the best use of ongoing counselling or to get to other forms of support as quickly as possible.  

Our clients want to talk with us about all sorts of issues. We will always aim to help and support you to explore, understand and potentially make the changes that feel most important to you. Sometimes though, clients coming as a couple or perhaps as a family or group of friends find it very difficult to agree together on what most needs to happen or change as a result of coming to counselling.  Where that’s the case, wherever possible, our practitioners will support you to discover if there is any common ground on which you can both agree to work or if different forms of support are more likely to be of greater benefit.

We take the safety and welfare of our clients very seriously. This is why we are only able to offer our services to those clients who are residing or working in the UK or who are members of the UK’s armed forces currently working abroad. This approach ensures that where necessary we can more easily support those clients who require additional resourcing to organizations or statutory bodies external to Relate but within the UK.

Individual time with a practitioner

The content of any individual conversations is confidential between the client and us. 

Mobile phones

Please switch off your mobile phone during your sessions.

Unauthorised electronic recording

So you can work safely and effectively with a practitioner, it is important that privacy is respected. Please do not attempt to record your sessions using any device or app. If we find that recordings have been made covertly, services for the individual responsible will be discontinued immediately. We reserve the right to seek legal advice and take further action.

Authorised electronic recording

Sometimes a practitioner needs to record a session. Some practitioners regularly use audio or video recording in their work and in these circumstances, you will be asked to give your written consent for this.

The consent will specify all the ways the recording will be used, for example, training, supervision or research, and how and when the recording will be destroyed.
Where a session is online, such as a web conferencing service, this will be made clear along with any additional data privacy information.

Sex therapy

If you’re coming to us for sex therapy, as part of the assessment or ongoing work, your therapist may suggest reading or viewing explicit sexual material to support the work they are undertaking with you. Your practitioner will always discuss this possibility with you first and answer any questions you may have and you can decline their suggestion at any time. 

Student Counsellors

We provide training to qualified or those training to be Counsellors. This means that the practitioner you see may be a student or a qualified practitioner who is now undertaking training in a different discipline. For example, a qualified relationship practitioner who is now training in sex therapy.  

All our practitioners in training have been assessed as competent to work with their clients on a wide range of issues. Our practitioners receive regular, ongoing and professional clinical supervision for the work they undertake with clients. Clinical supervision supports their work with you to ensure it meets the highest professional standards. If you would prefer not to be seen by a practitioner in training, please let us know before your appointment. Contact details can be found on your booking confirmation.

Reports and client records

Occasionally Relate is asked by clients or third parties such as social workers, solicitors, or the NHS to write reports or express an opinion on the progress made in counselling or other services. We are generally not able to do this because of our duty of confidentiality to our clients, and because Relate practitioners are not trained in the specialist areas of diagnosis or social work assessment.  Any notes we take about sessions are brief and are not a detailed account of who said what. They are used only to support continuity from session to session. However, in some circumstances, we can provide the dates and number of sessions attended on receipt of written consent from the client or clients.

Sometimes we are asked by clients, their solicitors, the police, and the courts for access to client records. These are not suitable as evidence in legal proceedings and we reserve the right to refuse legal requests to produce the records in court. We do this to protect our duty of confidentiality to all our clients, and to preserve our reputation as a provider of confidential counselling and relationship support.

Cancellation policy

We charge clients for cancellations made outside the centre’s cancellation period. Your centre will provide you with information about their cancellation policy. Please make sure you have understood it to ensure you do not incur any charges if you need to cancel an appointment. 

Feedback and complaints

Our colleagues will always aim to resolve whatever is concerning you efficiently and courteously and we request that you respond to us in the same way. 

We do not tolerate abuse towards our colleagues and we have the right to consider action against anyone who behaves in an abusive way to any member of our team.
We welcome any feedback about the service you received. We also have a complaints process that you can follow if you are not happy with the service you have received from us.