Private Practice Paperwork Essentials

If you are setting up your counselling or psychotherapy practice, or taking some time in your practice to update your intake procedures, you are likely to need a few specific contracts, forms and policies. In this short introduction to PPP Essentials, we will look at what the necessary private practice startup paperwork is for setting up a counselling or psychotherapy practice.

A contact details form collects legal and chosen name, address, email, telephone number and other important contact information for clients. I also collect a current and local family physician or general practitioner contact and a local emergency contact. This is not permission to contact them or consult except in an emergency. If a client had a seizure in a session, I would administer first aid, contact emergency services ands then call their nominated emergency contact followed by informing their GP.

A therapist Release of Information form or Therapist Release form is necessary if you ever need to consult with a referring psychiatrist, agency or treatment programme indicating your client’s consent for you to share data between you and the other practitioner. We need a different form for each practitioner, so I would have my client sign three for a psychiatrist, GP and a treatment centre so I could send the forms to each when requesting reports and sending updates. Our form has specific checkbox permissions for various forms of contact.

An Intake Assessment collects information from clients on their psychological, physical, relational and emotional history – we call it a biopsychosocial assessment. I tend to complete mine over several sessions with clients as we get to know each other and build trust.

In terms of ethical and legal obligations, there are two more essentials for private practice:

The Privacy Notice and the Clinical Will.

In order to work with clients in the European Union, we must comply with the General Data Protection Regulation. As well as updating and recording our internal dataset processing and storage procedures, we must give or make available a notice to clients explaining how their personal and sensitive information is stored and processed by us. Learn more about GDPR with us over in our Courses section or our GDPR blog. If you are based in the United States, this document might relate to HIPAA and be dependent on your state regulations.

A Clinical Will, also known as Therapeutic Will, is often overlooked or avoided but is such an important and key element of setting up a psychotherapy practice. It sets out your intended procedure should your practice need to be unexpectedly closed on your behalf in the event that you are unable to. It is a requirement of the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy to have a plan in place for your clients to be informed and supported should you no longer be available to work with them. Our Clinical Will package contains a worksheet for considering various planned and unplanned endings along with a template to collect your executors’ agreement. We talk more about this in our Clinical Will choose where our template is offered for free in the Bonus Section.

Our Set Up Starter Kit contains customisable templates for all these psychotherapy forms for private practice along with guidance notes, worksheets and highlighted spaces for you to edit to suit your practice. All our documents are assessed, edited and reviewed by lawyers.


Check out our completely FREE counselling forms templates to see if our templates might help you in writing your intake paperwork.