Congratulations on starting your journey, via professional coaching, toward a life that you would love to live. This document and attachments constitute a contract between us (the “Agreement”). You should read it carefully and raise any questions and concerns that you have before you sign it.
The services provided by Alana Gissen include coaching on topics decided jointly with you, the client. The purpose of coaching is to develop and implement strategies to help you reach personally identified goals of enhanced performance and personal satisfaction. Coaching may address a wide variety of goals including specific personal projects, life balance, relationship satisfaction, or general conditions in the client’s life, business, or profession. I may refuse to discuss any goals/topics that are outside the scope of my ability/practice.
Coaching fees are pre-payed prior to your coaching sessions. Services must be paid for in advance, or they cannot be provided. I will keep your credit card on file and will auto-bill 24 hours prior to service provided.
If, at any time, you feel that your needs are not being met or you are not getting what you want out of the coaching, please notify me in writing, so we can discuss your needs and adjust your coaching program, as needed. We will continue to work on the goals that you define unless you want to stop, which we will do whenever you ask.
Coaching is scheduled at the mutual convenience of the coach and the client. The day and time for the next call will be scheduled at the close of each coaching session. Pricing for each coaching session will be based on the length of time per session.
ONLINE VIDEO PLATFORM PROCEDURE:
You will be contacted by me via an online video platform that will be mutually agreed upon. At this time, only online video sessions are offered. I would like to make you aware that there may be limitations with online/video sessions and if you have concerns about functionality (ie, poor connection, audio issues, privacy) you should make me aware.
I have arranged my schedule to accommodate your reserved time and to make you a priority. Please remember that you must give 24 hour prior notice if you need to cancel or change the time of an appointment, otherwise you will be charged in full for the session. Please notify me over the phone or via email if you need to cancel your appointment. Although emergencies are an inevitable part of life, you are still responsible for compensating me for setting aside the time in my schedule.
Either party may end the coaching relationship by providing the other party with a one-week written notice, which may be transmitted by e-mail. Upon termination by either party, all coaching fees must be paid up to date. Since I am not providing healthcare services, I am under no obligation to provide you with any additional notice or continuation of care.
As a licensed therapist, I protect the confidentiality of the communications with my clients, including my coaching clients. I will only release information about our work to others with your written permission, or if I am required to do so by a court order. There are some situations in which I am legally obligated to breach your confidentiality in order to protect others from harm, including, (1) If I have information that indicates that a child or elderly or disabled person is being abused/neglected, I must report that to the appropriate state agency and (2) if a client is an imminent risk to him/herself or makes threats of imminent violence against another person, I am required to take protective actions. These situations rarely occur in coaching practices, but is such a situation does occur, I will make every effort to discuss it with you before taking any action.
As you are probably aware, it is impossible to protect the confidentiality of information which is transmitted electronically. This is particularly true of e-mail and information stored on computers connected to the internet (unless you use encryption and other forms of security protection), and if you use a cordless or cell phone, someone with a scanner could hear you talking.
COACHING AND PSYCHOTHERAPY:
Your coach, Alana Gissen, is mental health professional who is trained to help people learn new skills and make significant behavior changes. I am here to offer skills in the areas of communication, problem-solving, and behavior change. I do this through a service called “Coaching”, in which you come to her for help in making decisions and implementing them, in order to achieve goals that you decide for yourself.
In addition to being a coach, I am also a clinical psychotherapist with training and experience in diagnosing and treating emotional and psychological problems. Although there are some similarities between coaching and psychotherapy, I will not conduct psychotherapy with my coaching clients. These are different activities, and it is important that you understand the differences between them. Although both coaching and psychotherapy use knowledge of human behavior, motivation, behavioral change, and interactive counseling techniques, there are major differences in the goals, focus, and level of professional responsibility.
As your coach, my job is to help you to take information and skills that you already have and (1) to make decisions about which changes you would like to achieve (including list of coaching targets/goals), (2) to develop a personal “action plan” in order to make those changes, (3) to implement your action plan and make the behavioral changes, and (4) to develop strategies to maintain the changes you have made. I will support, encourage, teach, and help you to stay “on track” toward your goals.
You, the client, set the agenda for your coaching, and your success will depend on your willingness to define and take risks and try new approaches. You can expect me to be honest and direct, asking straightforward questions and using challenging techniques to help you move forward. You are expected to evaluate your own progress, and if the coaching is not working as you wish, you should immediately inform me so we can both take steps to correct the problem. Like any human endeavor, coaching can involve feelings of distress and frustration which accompany the process of change. My coaching does not offer any guarantee of success.
Psychotherapy, on the other hand, is a health care service. Its primary focus is to identify, diagnose, and treat nervous and mental disorders. The goals include alleviating symptoms, understanding the underlying personality dynamics which create symptoms, changing the dysfunctional behaviors which are the result of these disorders, and helping patients to cope with their psychological problems.
Psychotherapy patients are often emotionally vulnerable. This vulnerability is increased by the expectation that they will discuss very intimate personal information and will expose feelings about themselves that are understandably sensitive. The past life experiences of psychotherapy patients have often made trust difficulty to achieve. These factors give psychotherapists greatly disproportionate power that creates a fiduciary responsibility to protect the safety of their clients. The coaching relationship is designed to avoid this power differential.
Because of these differences, the roles of coach and psychotherapist are often in potential conflict, so I believe that it is ethically inappropriate for me to play both roles with a client. If I am your coach, I cannot be your therapist. This means that if either of us recognizes that you have a problem that would benefit from psychotherapy, I will refer or direct you to appropriate resources. In some situations, I may insist that you enter psychotherapy, and that I have access to your psychotherapist, as a condition of my continuing as your coach.
It is also important to understand that coaching is a professional relationship. While it may feel at times like a close personal relationship, it is not one that can extend beyond professional boundaries, either during or after our work together. Considerable experience shows that when boundaries blur, the hard-won benefits gained from the coaching relationship are endangered.
Maintaining appropriate boundaries is important for your progress. I will not be your “friend” on any social media platforms. Also any text, emails or calls in between sessions should be in reference to only administrative issues, appointments, billing, and homework. Administrative issues will be responded to within 24 hours. I will not respond to emails, texts, calls that are coaching issues as this should be discussed in our coaching session time together. Any emergency/crisis situations should be addressed by calling 911. I do not provide emergency/crisis response.
You and I mutually recognize that we may discuss future plans, business affairs, customer lists, financial information, job information, goals, personal information, and other private information. I will not voluntarily communicate your information to a third party. In order to honor and protect my intellectual property, you likewise agree not to disclose or communicate information about the my practice, materials, or methods to any third parties.
Any controversy or claim arising out of or in relation to this agreement, or the breach of this agreement, shall be settled by binding arbitration, which will occur via telephone by an arbitrator that we mutually agree upon. The costs of the arbitration shall be borne by the losing party.
Your signature indicates that you have read this agreement for services carefully and understand its contents. Please ask me to address any questions or concerns that you have about his information before you sign.