1. Explain honestly my experience, and non, to the parent/carer – to ensure their informed consent to who and what they were purchasing ( and of course to check with myself that I was competent for what was being asked)
2. Risk assess from all available sources, info and initial direct contact (in parents presence) and one session which involved the parent.
3. Create a care plan which parent/family/child agreed to. Including the need progressively, for the family adult to stay outside the room, or in car, or nearby and contactable by mobile. When this was less possible due to family pressures, I Requeste written altered consent of ‘altered risk’. I will ask a social worker to sit outside the therapy space (confidentiality is upheld, they will come if I called so I had witness to anything in the extremely unlikely possibility)
3. I’d Continue this process week by week and adjust, with regular feedback to/from parent and others as required.
4. I will check parental responsibility issues with my insurance solicitor as the estranged parent was not party to these arrangement for him/her to see me as a therapist ( I will alter my Terms & Conditions details to reflect this)
5. And finally the key part I believe, is that our qualification and HCPC registration gives us the permission to basically do our job – to see them for art psycho/therapy, as a therapist. As such the parent is making the decision to trust and leave us in charge of their child and my registration gives me the skills to assess and design the respond.
My paperwork terms and conditions make this and all the above very clear and I ensure others around the child are aware that she is in therapy and the impact and support needed
6. I checked cover with insurance
7. I continually check the whole clinical process in clinical supervision
8. I Look at The British Association of Art Therapists relevant info, Contnuing Professional Development and Special Interest Groups etc.
9. Any further information sources of relevance In my opinion, the risk within all of this is the risk we take in choosing to be therapists Whatever age.
With safe and sensible risk and boundary management and appropriate child and adolescent safeguarding procedures in place this policy which is subject to updates will help keep children safe.
I find that risk assessment, the contract, safeguarding, confidentiality and an effective, safe outer frame should always take centre stage. As such I would never see a child without someone who has parental responsibility available for the entire duration of each session in an adjacent waiting room as the child may need to leave the room at some point, may injure themselves accidentally/deliberately in the therapy room, may collapse, may attack the therapist/room where the session needs ending early, may run out of the room and building in great distress, may be terribly distressed and need immediate outside of therapy ‘psychological holding’/comfort by their carer etc etc just to name but a few potential incidents.
I imagine everyone’s clear that I cannot take the role of loco parentis.
I do not expect children by their school and carers to walk from school to their therapy session on their own and then back to school or home. This is never psychologically safe for the child.
Parents/carers MUST commit to being outside the Art Therapy Session or in the very near vicinity, contactable by phone.
In the event the child did not arrive for their therapy session one week and I need to know who had responsibility and accountability, and safeguarding responsibility for the child within this ‘gap’.
My contract MUST include the parent/carer/designated school employee being available ‘next door’ for the child’s safety, for insurance companies and their under-writers are supportive of such practice.
Working with looked after children populations are included in this policy