The purpose of this agreement is to explain what I, Alicja Ligeza (formerly known as Alicja Szalinska), can offer as a person centred counsellor, and to set out the terms of our working arrangement and expectations of both parties. Please feel free to get in touch before we start working together if you have any questions or if you have any concerns about anything in this agreement.
I am grounded in a person centred theory, which means that my counselling style is client led and the goal of therapy is to empower the client to develop more self-awareness, to clarify their aims and to make the changes they desire. To support my clients in this process I create a safe, warm and non-judgemental environment. You as the client decide what you bring to the session each week. A core belief in person centred counselling is that the client is the best expert on themselves. Therefore, I will not be in a position to offer advice or tell you what to do. Instead, we work together to explore what may have contributed to your current issues, how you might want to approach things going forward and any challenges this change might bring.
You can find more information about person centred approach to counselling on the BACP website: https://www.bacp.co.uk/about-therapy/types-of-therapy/person-centred-counselling/
Person centred therapy is not suitable for individuals currently in crisis and at risk of taking their own life and I am unable to work with such clients. Please contact your doctor or call SNS 24 (health helpline) on 808 24 24 24 immediately. In life threatening situations call emergency services on 112 or attend A&E (“Serviço de Urgência”) at a hospital.
Code of Ethics
I am a member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and I conduct my practice within the BACP ‘Ethical Framework for Counsellors’, and also the BACP Guidelines for Online Counselling and Psychotherapy. Both of these documents can be found at www.bacp.co.uk
As a member of BACP I receive regular supervision and I discuss my work with another counsellor. However, in supervision I withhold any identifying details of my clients.
Duration of Counselling
A standard ‘counselling hour’ is 50 minutes long and appointments are usually arranged at the same time every week. If you arrive late to your session, we will work together for the remainder of the time. In-person appointments are reserved for clients who attend their sessions weekly. Less frequent sessions are available online only and are offered subject to availability in the schedule.
I offer both short-term and long-term counselling. It is difficult to predict how many sessions a client will need, as it very much depends on a personal situation as well as goals and expectations of the client. However, we will be reviewing progress periodically to ensure that the service offered continues to be helpful for the client.
I charge 90€ for a 50-minute session. I reserve the right to adjust the rate every year in January and/or at other times during the year due to changing circumstances e.g. when additional costs become applicable.
Please arrange a payment minimum 24h before our session time to confirm your booking. Card payments can be arranged on request. I accept payments by cash and by transfer to the ActivoBank account as below:
NAME OF ACCOUNT HOLDER: Alicja Ligeza
IBAN: PT50 0023 0000 4567 7656 7679 4
Cancellation and Missed Appointments Policy
I have a standard 24h cancellation policy. If you need to cancel or re-schedule an appointment, please let me know minimum 24h before the session time by email or by phone (voicemail is fine) to make sure that no charge will be made. Missed sessions and cancellations made less than 24h before the appointment will incur a full session fee. The cancellation or missed appointment fee may be waived only under exceptional circumstances and solely at my discretion. Payments for late cancellations and missed appointments should be settled in full before the next session.
Attending appointments weekly is important for building the therapeutic relationship and maintaining the momentum and based on my experience I find it essential for effective therapy. Therefore, I reserve the right to review our work together and terminate our relationship if the client cancels more than 3 appointments in a 3 months rolling period.
If we experience technical issues with the internet connection, software or hardware during our online session, I will call you on the number you have provided and we will complete the session by phone.
To ensure that our relationship remains professional and therapeutic I do not send or accept social media invitations to my personal profile. However, I have official Lisbon Counselling social media accounts, which are available for you to follow.
Contact Outside of Sessions
Contact outside of sessions should be limited to practical matters such as cancelling or re-scheduling a session. To do so you can contact me by email or by phone (voicemail is fine). I work Mon to Fri and I will aim to respond to any communication within 24h.
I will always endeavour to give you 2 weeks’ notice if I have a planned commitment that prevents me from attending a confirmed session. If I have to cancel at short notice due an unexpected event, I will try to offer you an alternative time. If we can’t find a suitable alternative within that week, we will meet the following week at the usual time.
Terminating Counselling Relationship
Both parties have the right to terminate this agreement, for or without cause. To terminate the agreement, the terminating party must inform the other party (preferably in writing e.g. by email).
A planned ending is an important part of the process, so I ask that you give me at least one session notice before you finish your therapy. This is to make sure that we have time to reflect on our work together and to discuss your plan for the future e.g. your self-care plan.
I reserve the right to terminate our counselling relationship with immediate effect if you are not abiding by this counselling contract or in certain circumstances e.g. substance abuse or severe mental health issues may be contraindicators to person centred therapy.
If you are not satisfied with ethical aspects of my work, I would kindly ask you to bring it up in session or via email, so that we can address it immediately. If you have a complaint about my professional work or my treatment of you that we cannot resolve, you have the right to inform my professional body. You can find more information on www.bacp.co.uk