Clients have rights when engaging with regulated, accredited counselling and psychology services.
These rights should be upheld by professionals to safeguard the public from harm and to maintain the standing of the profession.
The Mental Health Act (2014) maintains principles to which all mental health professionals must adhere. They are:
a) People receiving mental health services should be provided assessment and treatment in the least restrictive way possible with voluntary assessment and treatment preferred.
b) People receiving mental health services should be provided those services with the aim of bringing about the best possible therapeutic outcomes and promoting recovery and full participation in community life.
c) People receiving mental health services should be involved in all decisions about their assessment, treatment and recovery and be supported to make, or participate in, those decisions, and their views and preferences should be respected.
d) People receiving mental health services should be allowed to make decisions about their assessment, treatment and recovery that involve a degree of risk.
e) People receiving mental health services should have their rights, dignity and autonomy respected and promoted.
f) People receiving mental health services should have their medical and other health needs, including any alcohol and other drug problems, recognised and responded to.
g) People receiving mental health services should have their individual needs (whether as to culture, language, communication, age, disability, religion, gender, sexuality or other matters) recognised and responded to.
h) Aboriginal people receiving mental health services should have their distinct culture and identity recognised and responded to.
i) Children and young people receiving mental health services should have their best interests recognised and promoted as a primary consideration, including receiving services separately from adults, whenever this is possible.
j) Children, young people and other dependents of people receiving mental health services should have their needs, wellbeing and safety recognised and protected.
k) Carers (including children) for people receiving mental health services should be involved in decisions about assessment, treatment and recovery, whenever this is possible.
l) Carers (including children) for people receiving mental health services should have their role recognised, respected and supported.
Should something of concern occur in the counselling room, clients have the right to a fair and transparent process for submitting their complaints and feedback.
Life Supports encourage, welcome and take client feedback very seriously. You can find the codes of ethics to which our psychologists and counsellors adhere here.
Life Supports are a neutral body and in dealing with concerns we aim to protect, empower and resolve by consent where possible. There are generally 3 pathways for submitting feedback, dependent upon the nature of the concern or praise and its severity.
1. Providing your feedback to Life Supports only.
- The client wishes to leave the feedback with Life Supports’ head office to be lodged internally and dealt with according to our internal review processes. In this instance, the feedback will not be passed onto the therapist and they do not receive a right of reply.
- Our internal review processes log all feedback and make decisions about representation
- This option means the client has chosen not to take the feedback further and they have chosen not to give the therapist a right of reply.
2. In addition to lodging the complaint within Life Supports’ internal review processes, the therapist also receives the feedback. In this instance, the therapist has a chance to learn about the situation and has a right of reply.
- The client may choose to submit the concern either using their name or anonymously. The client may choose to accept further communication from the therapist, or to request no further communication from the therapist.
3. In addition to lodging the feedback within Life Supports’ internal review processes, the client may choose to make a formal complaint via the therapist’s professional registration body or the Health Complaints Commissioner.
- If a client feels their rights were violated in the counselling room, the client has the right to pursue a formal complaint through these avenues. Making a complaint through this pathway may mean that the professional body requires further evidence to avoid unfair or frivolous claims, but you have the right to pursue this avenue if your grievance is serious. Life Supports support the fair and transparent processes involved.