If you are a psychotherapist, counsellor or coach and you die or suddenly become incapacitated, who will tell your clients*?
And who will deal with your online presence, professional memberships and subscriptions?
*The ethics/practice codes of all the main UK professional bodies say you should make suitable arrangements - read more here
If you have died suddenly, your family will be overwhelmed by grief and by all the practicalities which ensue. If you have been incapacitated, they will be focused on you and helping you to adjust to a different kind of life, one that may not involve work. In either case, contacting your clients could be distressing on both sides and could raise issues of confidentiality.
If you have appointed solicitors as your legal executors, they will be dealing with your will, your estate and your finances. Instructing them to contact and support your clients, and deal with your business website and social media accounts, your professional memberships and subscriptions, could be prohibitively costly
Your friends may be willing to contact your clients, but is this a task you would wish them to take on? It takes time and there are aspects of professional practice, ethics and confidentiality involved. They may even know some of your clients and confidentiality could be at risk. If they are therapists, counsellors or coaches themselves, there could be a conflict of interest.
We offer an affordable professional executor service to carry out this sensitive, detailed work. Having a professional executor is considered best practice in psychotherapy, counselling and coaching. As a practitioner, you need to make arrangements because of the possibility of:
Sudden severe illness
A breakdown in mental health
In all these circumstances, your clients will need to be informed. You know how intensely personal the therapeutic, counselling or coaching relationship can be for clients and this news needs to be given in a skilled and supportive way. Our team are former coaches, psychotherapists or counsellors, trained and qualified in the UK.
We prepare with you.
We ask you all the questions necessary to enable us to step in and carry out our service in the event of your death or serious incapacity. We focus on how we will contact and support your clients but also find out about your website, email and social media, your professional memberships and subscriptions and details of your supervisor, if you have one, and any important colleagues
We hold your instructions.
We hold your unique instructions and express wishes in a physical folder and an electronic back-up file, both stored securely and confidentially. We update this information annually or whenever there is a material change that you give us. We never hold your client files - we only know where you keep them so that they can be accessed in the event of your death or incapacity
We carry out your wishes.
If something happens to you, your nominated family member, friend or solicitor will have been briefed by you to call us. We go to your file and review your instructions. Then one of our trained psychotherapists, counsellors or coaches arranges with your nominated contact to obtain your client contact details and deal with your professional memberships and online content
We understand and abide by the codes of professional ethics and confidentiality used in these practice areas. We signpost your clients to alternative practitioners of your choosing, or to the relevant professional bodies or listings. We ensure that your client's notes are kept confidential and we arrange for their secure disposal.
For me, the most important thing is knowing that there would be clean and professional communication if anything was to happen to me or if I wasn’t able to communicate.
— Cindy, Therapist