This working agreement is to ensure that the conditions of counselling, therapeutic, mentoring, and educational services provided by me are clearly explained, so that you can give informed consent.
I, Lara Murray t/a Divine Theratrix, am a qualified counsellor and a registered member of The Association of Somatic and Integrative Sexologists.
You are my client or prospective Client.
These terms describe how we agree to work with each other, and the professional boundaries I have adopted so that I may work ethically.
Professional boundaries statement
I abide by the ASIS Ethical Code, which you can find here Code of Ethics — The Association of Somatic and Integrative Sexologists (ASIS) (the-asis.org).
Sessions are tailored with this Code in mind, to be in your best interests.
I will only use physical touch where this has been specifically negotiated with you and we are clear on the benefits and boundaries of that touch. Boundaries will be negotiated in advance of sessions. Boundaries will also be discussed, agreed, and set at the beginning of each session, including the stipulation that boundaries may not be renegotiated or changed during that session. Maintaining the agreed boundaries also includes stopping touch if requested, and we will agree on safe words and signals for you to do that.
If kink is used, that will be with the intention of facilitating the emotional, psychological, and physical experiences that align with your expressed personal development objectives. Kink in our sessions is not to elicit any exchange of sexual energy. I will not be contacting sexual feelings within myself. All of who you are is warmly welcome, including all your emotions and sexual feelings. All I ask is that you work with any sexual feelings inside of your own body, rather than directing them at me.
My clients include people within the communities I am professionally and personally involved with. My involvement and experience within those communities is often cited as the reason people want to work with me. If we have personal and/or professional relationships because we share communities or otherwise, I take this into account when considering my boundaries.
I actively participate in these communities:
- poly and non-monogamous;
- BDSM and kink; and
- conscious sexuality and tantra.
Types of relationships
Relationships which are of a romantic, sexual, kinky, or intimate nature raise ethical questions.
Power dynamics are everywhere and can have a particularly harmful impact on client/practitioner roles if there are not agreed boundaries in place to safeguard our interests.
So that you can understanding when I regard a person as a client, my definitions are:
- Potential clients – someone who: may become a client; or who may have contacted me to talk about working together; or has not committed financially to any session work together.
- Clients – someone who: has committed financially to session work together; or is in a programme of sessions; or has indicated that they may continue to have sessions in the future.
- Ex-clients – someone who: was a client and has confirmed that they have completed session work with me, and at least 12 months have passed since the last session.
Using the definitions above, I have created guidelines I follow as a way of maintaining professional boundaries. These will be reviewed and adjusted based on experience, insight, and advice.
- This excludes anyone who is considered family of origin; family of choice; an existing romantic or sexual partner of mine; or an existing romantic or sexual partner of a current partner.
- Anyone who I have previously been in a sexual or a romantic relationship would be considered only if at least 12 months had passed since the sexual or romantic nature of the relationship ended.
- Consideration is given to existing good friends where we both know each other well. This will be based on the type of session and only with open mutual dialogue about the shift in power dynamic, impact on friendship and nature of other mutual close relationships.
- Casual acquaintances and friends are invited to discuss the implications for embarking on a professional relationship. This includes the agreements we would make in terms of interactions outside of session work.
- I will not engage in any romantic activity with a client, inside or outside of sessions.
- There will be no form of sexual activity with a client, inside or outside of sessions.
- We will discuss and agree rules if we are planning to attend the same event, play party, workshop, or retreat.
- Any interactions of a sexual or romantic nature would only be considered after at least 12 months had passed cessation of session work.
- I would discuss this in supervision and gain advice and support from peers.
Creating containers with rules of engagement for multiple relationships has proven useful for managing the different roles, interactions, and communities that both I, and clients, traverse personally and professionally.
Where there is an existing personal relationship, we would agree not to engage in any kind of social interaction during session time. This includes immediately before or after any session. Additionally, anything session related would be kept strictly for discussion during a session.
Where there is an existing professional relationship, we would openly discuss the suitability of attending any events where either person is involved in a facilitation role, prior to the event. We would gain mutual agreement on the appropriate course of action.
Timekeeping and locations
Talk sessions will take place by Zoom call at times we schedule in advance, and each session will be for a duration of 50 minutes. If you have special needs that mean you require talk sessions to be in-person, I might be able to accommodate this subject to venue availability and diary commitments.
Integrative healing sessions will usually take place at Centaur Studios Hackney, which is unfortunately not wheelchair accessible venue at this time. The duration of these sessions will be 1-3 hours, depending on what we agree.
Educational and mentoring sessions may take place online, by telephone, in person at Centaur Studios Hackney or some other location (as advertised). The duration of these sessions will be as advertised (if you are attending a workshop) or agreed between us (if I have tailored a programme specifically for you based on your expressed personal development goals).
I ask that you arrive on time for the start of your session – neither early nor late. Sessions will not be allowed to overrun because this impacts sessions that follow. If you are 30 minutes late or more, the session will be deemed to be cancelled by you. Cancellations should be made as soon as possible, no later than 48 hours before the start of a session. Cancellations of less than 48 hours of the start of a session will incur the full fee, as will failure to attend. If you miss a session, or if I haven’t heard from you, I may contact you once with my availability, but you will not be put on a mailing list (unless you have expressly opted in).
Sometimes I keep records of our sessions together, which is to help me work better with you and to monitor your progress. They help me remember what we’ve worked on and remember your most important details.
This will include:
– a code for your name e.g. John Brown could be JB1;
– keywords or insights from the session; and
– any pertinent information relevant to our work together.
Your records are all anonymous, and I keep them on an external hard drive, which I keep in a locked box. Nobody else can access this unless I am given explicit permission by you. If I have your mobile number, it is stored on my phone which is password locked and face ID locked. With any email correspondence, my email address is password protected.
I do not give your personal details to anybody else unless you give me permission to. I also would never sell your details- such as your name, date of birth or email address- to a third party.
Everything that is said in our sessions is completely confidential and does not leave the room. I need to see a supervisor as part of my ongoing professional development. This helps me to grow, gain support and guidance. Thus, I may confidentially share some of what is said in the session. If I do, I will not share your name, location, or any other identifiable information about you.
There are two other limits to confidentiality
1. If I feel that you or somebody else may be at risk of serious harm. This is to protect you and anybody else for safeguarding purposes. My priority is your welfare, and I want to always put your wellbeing first. If I needed to do this, I would always try to tell you first if possible.
2. If I am legally required to disclose information, such as being ordered by a court or if the law requires. In this case I must pass on your information without your consent.
Contact between sessions
We will communicate by email or phone message to agree arrangements for sessions. If we have a pre-existing social connection that means we talk outside of sessions, I will be mindful of not talking about social matters during session time, and I ask that you be mindful of not processing therapeutic work outside of session time.
Personal details and emergency contact
If we are working together therapeutically, I will ask you to provide me with: your home address; and an emergency contact name and number (this can be a friend, family member, or partner). I will not contact the emergency services or your emergency contact other than in an emergency if it is necessary to break confidentiality because you or someone else is in danger.