By making any appointment to see Mathew, I, the client, GIVE MY CONSENT to Mathew and the institution under which he works (the "Institution") to provide counselling, psychotherapy, or mediation services to me based on the information set out herein. These are in addition to the Institution's terms and conditions of service.
1. Goal of the Therapist
The goal of Mathew is to help clients be more active change agents on their own behalf. What clients do for themselves correlates to therapeutic change far more than what Mathew say or do. Mathew works with clients to define and to work towards client goals; such as feeling better, having life positions or self validated, having more functional relationships, gaining more self-understanding, resolving conflicts, being better parents, having better co-parenting relationships, etc.
Mathew is a 2015 graduate of a Master's program in family centered practice and family therapy at the HK Polytechnic University. As of Dec 2017, he fulfilled the program's clinical supervision hours of 500 hours. His education and experience are set out in the home page of www.mathew.app. Since graduation, he has continued to practice psychotherapy and mediation, to update his therapy knowledge and skills and to participate in supervision within peer psychotherapy groups. Mathew keeps current his membership with the Asian Academy of Family Therapy, Hong Kong Marriage and Family Therapy Association, International Family Therapy Association, National Council on Family Relations, Association for Family Therapy and Systemic Practice. However he has no professional accreditation with them except as a certified marriage and family therapist of the Hong Kong Marriage and Family Therapy Association and as an accredited general and family mediator with the Hong Kong Mediation Accreditation Association Ltd. In Hong Kong, there is no legally mandated registration or licensing of counselling, psychotherapy or mediation.
3. Orientation and Methods used
Mathew uses collaborative dialogic client-therapist interactions to influence clients toward more effective self-help and finding their own solutions. His theoretical orientation is social constructionist. He uses a systemic lens more focused on relational and social aspects of mental health than on individual psychology. Mathew is client and outcome focused. He is eclectic and integrates various techniques and skills from various psychotherapy traditions that will move towards clients' goals. Mathew may provide third party information and make referrals to other professionals which may or may not help clients towards change.
4. Session Decisions
Length, frequency, and number of sessions are determined by clients. Clients can discuss progress, review goals, or concerns about the process of therapy or about Mathew as a therapist at any time with Mathew. Clients can refuse or reject any questions, views, recommendations, descriptions, explanations or interpretations of Mathew.
Clients' personal details, the session contents and session records are confidential (herein confidential information) and will not be disclosed without Clients' consent. However Mathew may share confidential information without clients' consent in the following situation: - Mathew is of the view that there is threat or injury to life or property" (i) If a client is under 18 years old, client's parents or legal guardians may have access to client's confidential information; (ii) Clinical supervision of Mathew by the Institution or his clinical supervisor or peer supervision members; (iii) Court order or lawfully issued court subpoena; (iv) Any legal or regulatory action against Mathew; (v) Disclosure under Multiple Clients section in this Informed Consent document.
If there is any contradiction in the confidentiality and privacy rules of the Institution, the terms in this Informed Consent document prevails.
6. Confidentiality and Privacy in Multiple Clients Situations
Other people within the client's family, work, social circle, or significant relationship may be invited, with client's consent, to join in therapy. They may be visitors only in which case they do not become clients. Or with client's consent, they may be included as additional clients with Mathew in the same matter.
When working with multiple clients in the same matter, interactions may include any combination of clients together or individually at various times. All matters revealed by one client is "private" between that client and Mathew. Mathew is under "No Duty Of Confidentiality" between various clients in the same matter (except where Mathew is formally engaged as a mediator). Confidentiality is maintained against all third parties who are not clients as set out in the Confidentiality section.
"Private" means that Mathew will keep private individual information away from other clients in the same matter, except as may be permitted by the disclosing Client. Mathew is not obliged to report to other clients or answer other client's questions regarding private matters disclosed by a client individually to Mathew. Mathew does not act as a messenger between various Clients.
"No Duty Of Confidentiality" means that, where appropriate and at Mathew's discretion, confidential information of one client may be used by Mathew overtly or covertly when interacting with other clients for the purpose of advancing the interest or goals of clients. Direct disclosure of private matters between the clients themselves will be encouraged by Mathew should such disclosure be relevant and after discussion of the purpose of such disclosure with the revealing client. Disclosure to other clients in the same matter without discussion will occur if Mathew of the view that there is imminent threat or injury to life or property. Mathew cannot rule out unconscious, unintentional, or lapse-of-memory "leaks" of any private information disclosed in an individual session to other clients when meeting in a joint configuration; such leakage could be direct facts, or interpretations of facts.
7. Potential harmful effects of therapy
While the psychotherapy process can benefit people, it is not always helpful. It is important that clients discuss with Mathew any questions or discomfort during the session or afterwards. The following is a list of potential harmful effects:- Evocation of strong feelings. Unanticipated results. Regression or worsening of undesirable symptoms. Deterioration in functioning. Periods of increased anxiety or confusion or self-doubt. Over reliance on Mathew at the expense of self-autonomy. Adverse outcome in relationships such as friends, family or significant others. Unintended influence of client through client's perception of Mathew's personal or society values. 3rd party information supplied by, or other service providers referred by, Mathew having harmful or no effects on clients, their significant relationships or situation. The services provided by Mathew may not be cost effective.
8. Alternatives to therapy with Mathew
There are various alternatives to Mathew's psychotherapy services: Consultations with resulting medication prescriptions with psychiatrists. Sessions with clinical, counselling, education or other types of psychologists. Sessions with life coaches, holistic healers, religion based practitioners. Sessions with other counsellors and psychotherapists at the institution in which Mathew works. Sessions with social workers. Group support services or therapy. Psychoeducation. Sessions with other counsellors or psychotherapists who practice various different types of modalities, methods or techniques of counselling / psychotherapy (such as, ACT, cognitive / behavioral, body based, coaching, DBT, EMDR, emotions focused, narrative, existential, gestalt, humanistic, play / art, psychodynamic or psychoanalytic, etc) or schools associated with well known individuals (such as Ackerman, Adler, Bowen, Ericson, Freud, Gottman, Jung, Satir, Yalom, etc).
9. Electronic communications and on-line sessions
Electronic communications such as emails, text messaging and social media may be used between Mathew and clients. Mathew's default mode for sessions are face-to-face and in person, although resorting to virtual or on-line sessions may be possible through IT such as Zoom or Skype. Clients accepts that such electronic communications and on-line sessions may not be secured and subject to hacking and electronic eavesdropping.
Clients are at liberty to terminate their counselling or psychotherapy with Mathew by giving written notice to Mathew or to the Institution providing the services. Mathew can do likewise. Clients has the right to withdraw consent for some or all aspects of Therapist's services.
The terms in this Informed Consent may be updated or revised from time to time and published in Mathew's public professional service webpage https://mathew.app/informed-consent.