Client Terms of Reference

Client Terms of Reference

1. As a client, it is understood and agree that I am fully responsible for my physical, mental and emotional well-being during my sessions, including my choices and decisions. I am aware that I can choose to discontinue sessions at any time.

2. I understand that “coaching” is a Professional-Client relationship I have with my coach that is designed to facilitate the creation/development of personal, professional or business goals and to develop and carry out a strategy/plan for achieving those goals.

3. I understand that coaching is a comprehensive process that may involve all areas of my life, including work, finances, health, relationships, education and recreation. I acknowledge that deciding how to handle these issues, incorporate coaching into those areas, and implement my choices is exclusively my responsibility.

4. I understand that coaching does not involve the diagnosis or treatment of mental disorders as defined by Tasmania’s Mental Health Act. I understand that coaching is not a substitute for counselling, psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, mental health care or substance abuse treatment and I will not use it in place of any form of diagnosis, treatment or therapy.

5. I promise that if I am currently in therapy or otherwise under the care of a mental health professional, that I have consulted with the mental health care provider regarding the advisability of working with a coach and that this person is aware of my decision to proceed with the coaching relationship.

6. I understand that information will be held as confidential unless I state otherwise, in writing, except as required by law.

7. I understand that certain topics may be anonymously and hypothetically shared with other coaching professionals for training OR consultation purposes.

8. I understand that coaching is not to be used as a substitute for professional advice by legal, medical, financial, business, spiritual or other qualified professionals. I will seek independent professional guidance for legal, medical, financial, business, spiritual or other matters. I understand that all decisions in these areas are exclusively mine and I acknowledge that my decisions and my actions regarding them are my sole responsibility.

Prescribed medication: The client agrees to inform the coach if they are currently taking any prescribed medication, which may affect their mental state at any time.

The client also agrees to inform the coach if at any stage they don’t feel they are being coached in a way that works best for them.

If my Client:

1. Is exhibiting a decline in his/her ability to experience pleasure and/or an increase in being sad, hopeless, or helpless

As a coach I may notice that the client is not as upbeat as usual. He/she may talk much more frequently about how awful life/the world is and that nothing can be done about it or may make comments about “why bother” or “what’s the use.” There will be a decline in talking about things that are enjoyable. The client may stop doing things they like to do (examples: going to the movies, visiting with friends, participating in athletic events or being a spectator of sporting events). The client begins to talk about being unable to do anything that forwards their dreams or desires.

2. Has intrusive thoughts or is unable to concentrate or focus

As a coach I may notice that the client is not able to focus on their goals or the topic of conversation. I notice that the client begins talking about unpleasant events during the course of talking about themselves and their goals. The client tells me that unpleasant thoughts keep popping into their minds at inopportune moments or when they are thinking about or doing other things and that they can’t seem to get away from these thoughts. The client tells me about recurring scary dreams that they didn’t have before. The client reports that they have so many thoughts swirling in their heads and that they can’t get them to slow down.

3. Is unable to get to sleep or awakens during the night and is unable to get back to sleep or sleeps excessively

The client comes to his/her coaching sessions tired and exhausted. The client begins talking about not being able to get to sleep or how he/she just wants to sleep all the time. The client may report to me how he/she gets to sleep and then wakes up and can’t get back to sleep. The client tells me how he/she needs to take naps during the day, something they have not done before. The client reports that they fell asleep at an inopportune time or place.

4. Has a change in appetite: decrease in appetite or increase in appetite

The client reports that he/she isn’t hungry and just doesn’t want to eat. The client reports that he/she is eating all the time, usually sweets or junk food, whether or not they are hungry. The client says he/she doesn’t get any enjoyment from eating when they did in the past. The client reports that he/she is not sitting down to eat with friends or family when he/she did in the past.

5. Is feeling guilty because others have suffered or died

The client reports that he/she feels guilty because they are alive or have not been injured. The client states that he/she doesn’t understand why he/she is still here/alive when others have had to suffer/die. The client doesn’t want to move forward with his/her goals because he/she doesn’t deserve to have the life he/she chose, especially when other people have had to suffer/die. The client questions his/her right to have a fulfilling life/career in the face of all that has happened. The client expresses the belief that he/she is unworthy of having a satisfying life.

6. Has feelings of despair or hopelessness

According to the client nothing in life is OK. The client may miss session times or says he/she wants to quit coaching because life is not worth living or he/she doesn’t deserve to get what they want. The client moves into excessive negative thinking. The client says that he/she can’t make a difference or that whatever he/she does doesn’t matter. The client has the attitude of “Why bother?”

7. Is being hyper alert and/or excessively tired

The client reports that he/she can’t relax. The client states that he/she is jumping at the slightest noise. The client reports that it feels like she/he always has to be on guard. The client states that they are listening for any little sound that is out of the ordinary. The client reports that he/she has no energy. The client states that he/she can’t do their usual chores because he/she is so tired. The client states that it takes too much energy to do things he/she normally did in the past.

8. Has increased irritability or outbursts of anger

The client becomes increasingly belligerent or argumentative with you or other people. The client reports that everyone or everything annoys them. The client starts making comments about how miserable everyone and everything is. The client reports that other people in their life are telling them how miserable/angry they have become. The client reports about getting into arguments with people. The client states that they get so upset they don’t know what to do with themselves. The client reports that they feel like a “pressure cooker” or are “ready to burst.” The client increasingly tells me about wanting to do or doing things that would harm themselves or others (examples: wanting to put their fist through a window; wanting to punch someone; wanting to hit someone/something with their car).

9. Has impulsive and risk-taking behaviour

The client reports doing things, such as going on a buying spree, without thinking about the consequences of their behaviour. The client tells you that something came to their mind so they went and did it without thinking about the outcome. The client reports an increase in doing things that could be detrimental to themselves or others (examples: increase in promiscuous sexual behaviour; increase in alcohol/drug consumption; deciding to get married after knowing someone an unusually short period of time).

10. Has thoughts of death and/or suicide or violence towards others

The client begins talking a lot about death, not just a fear of dying. The client alludes to the fact that dying would be appropriate for them. The client makes comments that to die right now would be OK with them. The client becomes fascinated with what dying would be like. The client talks about ways to die. The client talks about going to a better place and how wonderful it would be and seems to be carried away by the thought.

The client tells you they know how they would kill themselves if they wanted to/had the chance. The client talks about or informs you they are concerned about danger, violence or harm to either themselves or some-one else’s physical wellbeing.

The client tells you them or some-one else they know is in physical danger or trouble. The client tells you they know how they would kill themselves if they wanted to/had the chance. The client alludes to having a plan or way they would die/go to a better place/leave the planet/leave the situation/get out of here

Whereas previously the client was engaging, personable and warm and now they present to me as cold, distant and aloof tell them what I am observing and ask them what has changed for them. This is often a signal that they have disengaged from living and are silently thinking or planning to suicide. Some questions I may ask the client if I am unclear about what is going on with them or their intentions:

  • “Do you want to die and/or harm some-one else?”
  • “How would you die and/or harm some-one else if you decided to?” “Are you planning on dying and/or harming someone else?” “When are you planning on dying and/or harming some-one else?”

If I have any inclination or indication that the client is planning self-harm, harm to others or committing suicide I will immediately refer them to a mental health professional, an emergency room or call 000. I will tell the client that I am concerned for them, that I am taking what they say seriously and that they must get help immediately. If the client balks at what I am saying, gets belligerent or even more distant and I become even more concerned about them, I may need to tell them I will break confidentiality because of my concern for either their well-being and/or the well being of others then I will notify a mental health professional or call 000

If is important to note that the appearance of any one of these indicators, except for #10 which must be referred and followed up on immediately, does not indicate the immediate need for a referral to a psychotherapist or community mental health agency; everyone can experience a very brief episode of any of the indicators.

However, if I see that several indicators are emerging and that the client is not presenting as whole, competent, and capable then it is time for a referral to a mental health professional.

Appointments: Rescheduling or cancellations of appointments giving a minimum of 24 hours before planned date will not incur cancellation fees. All session packages are to be completed within six months. Cancellation fee is 50% of session cost.

Your package: Please discuss to share any insights or challenges you may experience.