What is in this policy?
This policy describes guidelines on how to conduct an initial assessment session on Unmind Talk. As with all Unmind Talk policies, this is a tool to aid decision-making, not a replacement for it, and this policy does not replace your professional judgement. All Unmind Talk practitioners are expected to consult with their clinical supervisor whenever they have any safeguarding concerns, or to inform decisions regarding the most appropriate care for a client.
This policy is reviewed quarterly. If you have a question about this policy or want to share feedback, please get in touch with us at here.
Unmind Talk aims to connect clients to the right help at the right time. We recognise that the first practitioner a client matches with will not always be the most suitable person to help them, and that Unmind Talk will not be the right means of support for everyone. A good assessment helps determine this.
Clients are not triaged before entering Unmind Talk, therefore your first meeting with any new client will be an initial assessment. In a minority of cases, a client will have been assessed by a different practitioner on the platform, but you will not have access to details of this.
Our therapists are expected to take a holistic, integrative approach to client assessment in line with their own ways of working. However, there are certain things we require you to cover in the initial assessment.
You must assess:
- Client suitability for Unmind Talk
- Whether your skills and approach are a good fit for that client
- Risk (to self and others)
Review of client policies
Each client will be sent links to Unmind Talk’s key policies at the time of booking their initial session. While we expect clients to digest this information in their own time, we encourage you to check in with them during the assessment session to ensure they have understood the following policies:
- Cancellation policy
- Platform T&Cs
- Getting the most out of Unmind Talk
We encourage you to collect the following information from the client:
- Client contact details
- Details of their doctor or any other relevant healthcare professional
An emergency contact
If you collect any of this information, you must store and protect it in line with your local data storage regulations, and agree with the client how you’ll use this information (e.g. under what circumstances you’d contact their emergency contact).
You are free to use any outcome measures in order to aid your assessment, and to continue to use these as applicable over the course of therapy. The Unmind Talk platform does not currently house outcome measures so it is your responsibility to administer them and protect any data in line with your local regulations.
If you deem the client unsuitable for Talk
We’re aware that the “right” help might not be found straight away. We also recognise that some clients will need more specialist care than Unmind Talk can offer, and we encourage you to use your professional judgement to determine whether this is the case.
Examples of reasons why Unmind Talk might not be the best route for a client are often due to risk or complexity:
- Complex mental health issues that cannot be managed well in weekly online sessions, e.g. active psychosis, mania, or ongoing serious substance misuse.
- When a client requires in-depth assessment and support, psychiatry or input from a multidisciplinary team.
- When a client presents with a high degree of clinical risk.
In the case that you believe the client needs more than Unmind Talk can offer, we recommend you discuss suitability with the client and refer them to more appropriate services.
We want to avoid anyone being left without support, or feeling like they can’t be helped. If you’re unsure of where to refer someone please get in touch with us here and we will aim to assist.
If you deem the client unsuitable for you
We recognise that certain therapeutic approaches or styles will be more beneficial to some clients than others. Again, we encourage you to use your clinical judgement to determine whether your approach, and level of competence, is right for any given client and the issues they’re bringing to therapy. If you think you’re not the most appropriate person to see the client, but you deem them suitable for Unmind Talk more generally, we encourage you to discuss this openly with them, and help them to think about what they need.
We want to avoid a revolving door for the client, and we aim to maximise their chances of finding the right practitioner so please:
- Give the client some guidance on what they might look for in choosing another practitioner (e.g. if you think a specific therapeutic modality would be helpful).
- Get in touch with us here if you would like us to support them to find a therapist to meet their needs.
We also encourage clients to explore other practitioners if they don’t think their initial match is the right fit.
Booking subsequent appointments
At the end of the assessment session, you may wish to encourage the client to reflect on whether they’d like to continue to work with you. We encourage clients to “shop around” and try more than one practitioner, therefore it might be that they want to meet some other practitioners before they make a decision on who to work with.
If they wish to see you again, they can either (i) make a booking request via the Unmind Talk platform (if you have open availability in your calendar) or (ii) email you directly. If it’s clear at the assessment session that the client wants to continue to work with you, it can be more efficient to book your next session while you are still on a call with them.
Note on Risk
If you are concerned about a client’s safety, we strongly advise you to refer to our policy on Risk and Safeguarding. Your approach must include a thorough risk assessment, making a safety plan and ensuring the client has access to crisis services. You may also wish to contact an emergency contact on behalf of the client.
If you have any questions, you can get in touch with us here.