NCPS | Working with Interpreters in Therapy

A three-way agreement involving a client, counsellor, and interpreter in the context of therapy should be put in place. This agreement is crucial to ensure clear communication about confidentiality along with any relevant ethical considerations.
The contract should include:

The contract should explicitly state that the interpreter is bound by confidentiality.
The responsibility for maintaining confidentiality should be clearly outlined and shared among the client, counsellor, and interpreter.

Roles and Responsibilities:
The contract should clarify that the interpreter's role is to support the client purely with regards to language translation and not to act as a co-therapist.
While respecting the interpreter's expertise, it should be made clear that the therapist assumes overall responsibility for the therapy.

Client Contact Outside Sessions:
The contract should address client contact outside therapy sessions, emphasising appropriate boundaries and communication channels.

Personal Relationships:
Interpreters should be discouraged from forming personal relationships with clients outside the counselling context to maintain professionalism and ethical boundaries.

Communication and Clarification:
Counsellors should ensure that clients and interpreters are aware that they can seek clarification if something is unclear during sessions or interactions.

Language Accessibility:
Any written information should be made available in the client's preferred language to enhance understanding and accessibility.

Payment and Financial Arrangements:
Clearly outline contractual obligations to the interpreter, including fees, and clarify that these are distinct from the counselling contract.
In organisational settings, the responsibility to pay the interpreter rests with the service provider.
Private practitioners should consider how to handle payment of fees, whether the interpreter will be arranged by the client or the counsellor, and be transparent about these arrangements with clients from the beginning.

Transparency in Fees:
Private practitioners should consider how to incorporate interpreting costs into counselling fees and should communicate this clearly and transparently with clients.
In summary, the contract should serve as a comprehensive document that establishes clear expectations, responsibilities, and ethical guidelines for all parties involved in therapy where an interpreter is necessary.

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