As an ethical therapist, I am aware of the importance of setting and maintaining good and healthy boundaries. As a member of gender, sexuality and relationship diverse communities, it is perhaps even more important given the greater possibility for overlapping spaces and identities. The role of the ethical therapist and supervisor includes an active process of checking, maintenance and reparation where needed.
This professional boundary statement is part of the process, offering clear guidance to potential clients, and myself. I am a therapist as well as a campaigner, writer, performer and life model. Beyond these, I am a human being who recognises the importance of being able to express all parts of ourselves.
Every person who engages in therapy is entitled to have their confidentiality maintained including their identities. They should never be outed as belonging to the gender, sexuality and relationship diverse communities. In the first session, we will go through a contract that explains the exceptions to this duty of confidentiality. These are safeguarding exceptions, based on a clear belief either you, or another, is in danger of harm, and legally mandated exceptions concerning money laundering and terrorism. You can expect that I, as your therapist, will not share your identities outside our sessions.
If you do see me at an in-person event, I will not acknowledge you unless you choose to do so first. If you wish to say hi, feel free. I will not refer to the fact that you are my client or refer to our therapy sessions.
2. Performance and modelling
Having attended a performance I have taken part in is not a barrier to starting therapy with me.
If you have attended a life-drawing class in which I have modelled, it would be beneficial to discuss this before starting sessions. It is not necessarily a barrier to us working together, but it would be helpful to discuss what this may bring up for you before starting therapy. If you would like to attend a life drawing class in Swansea, I am happy to share details of my booking dates and locations with you so we can make informed choices about how that would be for both of us and our working relationship.
If you happen to see me in a life drawing class after we start working together, it would be good to talk about what that brought up for you in our next therapy session.
As a writer, I mainly focus on themes of the work that I do and theoretical scenarios, as well as writing works of fiction. I do not write directly about client material. If you read something that I have written and you feel that you can identify your own experiences within it, I am happy to discuss this with you in session.
4. Social media
My social media presence is limited to my professional accounts on Facebook and Instagram, and I am a member of some Discord servers for queer people and related to my hobbies and interests. On Facebook, I have an account under a pseudonym that does not have myself as the profile picture, so I can use Facebook to keep up with friends.
I belong to several different groups on Facebook, including queer community groups. If I see your name in these groups, I can block you so that I do not see you sharing things online that you would not choose to share with me in sessions. If you would like to share your Facebook details with me, I can pre-emptively block your account so that I don’t incidentally read things you choose to share in Facebook groups to which we may both belong.
5. GSRD communities
As queer person who spends time in queer and non-monogamy spaces and events, we know people in common or find ourselves in the same places. I value my personal experiences and the richness that they bring to my work with people in our communities, but as our communities tend to be small it can create greater opportunities for overlap. The same principles of seeing and acknowledging each other apply as set out above under section 1 on confidentiality.
I am a believer in the importance of honest conversations about dual relationships (such as being both your therapist and knowing someone in our wider social circle) and where the relationships in our social circles may overlap. It is important that we both feel that there is enough distance between us for the work to take place safely and ethically.
Once we start working together, it will not be appropriate for us to date or be close friends in the future. It may be relevant for us to discuss your friends or partners in advance of us agreeing to work together to make sure that we are comfortable that there are no close connections that would make it difficult for safe and impartial therapeutic work.
I may be happy to work with you if someone I already work with has recommended me, but it would be helpful to explore the nature of the relationships before proceeding. I will not usually work with two people who are in a close romantic or domestic relationship, people who are immediate family members (such as parent and child) or with people who have close relationships with my partners or friends. This is to allow me to work ethically and safely with my clients without any conflict of interest.
Whilst I endeavour to maintain a clear distance between my personal experiences that inform my work and my clients, should there be a concern about an “overlap” I am always open to discussing appropriate ways of managing those connections.