• Assessments
  • Reviews and Debriefing
  • Reatreats
  • Education
  • Supervision and Mentoring
  • Therapy

Supporting mission personnel and humanitarian workers worldwide

How we work - information for clients

Introduction. This page describes how we work with individuals in assessments, reviews, debriefing, and therapy. We do not ask you to sign a written contract, but we assume that you have agreed to the contents of this page when we work with you. Please click on each heading to read the details.

Information for children. Children can read information our services here.

Professional standards

As clinical psychologists we are registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). We comply fully with the HCPC's standards of conduct, performance, and ethics, proficiency, continuing professsional development, and guidance about working remotely.


General confidentiality. All client information shared with us, and not in the public domain, is kept confidential within ARREST, with the following exceptions:


  • Where a client gives permission for release of information (for example, to their company, or to another agency or health professional);
  • Where we consider there is a risk of harm, either to the client or to others;
  • Where a client discloses something that, by law, we have to share with the proper authorities (for example, knowledge of abuse of a child or vulnerable adult, or information about terrorism or other serious crime);
  • Any other exceptions described in our privacy policy.

  • Breaking confidentiality. If we need to break your confidentiality, we will do our best to inform you, and explain why.

    Third party information

    If you tell us information about a client without their knowledge, we usually have to tell the client unless there is a valid reason not to (such as a risk of serious harm). Even then, clients have a right to access their information. In the future we may need tell them what told us, if there is no longer a valid reason to withhold it from them.

    Confidentiality with children and families

    Children's confidentiality. Different members of a family, including children, have the right to confidentiality too. We will not automatically share information with other family members. When it is in a child's best interests to share information the child has given us with their parents or guardians, we will aim to gain the child's agreement before sharing it. We will, however, share information, without their agreement if necessary, to keep children safe.

    Older children. Please note that as children grow older, it is less likely to be in their best interests to share information with parents without their agreement. With adult children over 18, we will share necessary information with relevant health professionals rather than with parents.

    For children to read. Children can read information our services here.

    Supervision and training

    Supervision. To meet professional standards and ensure that we continue to offer a high quality service, we discuss our clinical work with supervisors. Our supervisors have their own confidentiality requirements, and in addition, we usually anonymise any casework that we take to supervision in order to protect our clients' confidentiality.

    Training. If we use case examples in teaching, we take special care to protect client confidentiality, for example by omitting or changing proper names or other details that might identify clients.

    Further privacy information

    This is a summary of our approach to confidentiality in our professional practice. For more detailed information about how we protect your privacy in compliance with data protection law, see our privacy policy.

    How we work with individuals

    Overview. The main services we offer to individuals are asssessments, reviews and debriefing, and therapy. These are offered face to face, or remotely by telephone, Skype, Zoom, or other platforms.


    What is an assessment? In an assessment we will talk with you to work out what your mental health needs are. An assessment is usually a single appointment lasting 90 minutes to 3 hours, though occasionally it can extend across more than one appointment, or may involve gathering information (with your consent) from others.

    Couples & families. We can assess couples or families together or separately, as requested.

    Timing. Assessments can be carried out before deployment but can be offered mid-assignment.

    Outcomes. After our assessment we will give a conclusion and recommendations, which may include some of the following: no action needed; action for you or your company to take to help you on assignment; or further action required before you start or continue your assignment.

    After assignment. Particularly if you have a specific psychological need in mind, we also offer psychological assessments after assignment as distinct from a review or debriefing.

    Feedback. If requested, with your consent, we will provide feedback to your organisation about the outcome of assessment.

    Reviews and debriefing

    Personal debriefing. A review (also known as personal debriefing) is a specialist kind of assessment offered post-assignment or during home assignment. We aim to review with you the positive and negative aspects of your assignment and to identify what will help you thrive on your return to your host or passport country. Reviews usually last a minimum of 2-3 hours, and are available to individuals, couples, and families. We will usually conclude with recommendations, and will report to organisations only if requested.

    Critical incident debriefing. If you have experienced a critical incident (usually a life-threatening experience), we also offer critical incident stress debriefing to individuals, families, couples, and groups who have been affected by the same event. This involves talking through your experience and helping you to begin to move on from it.

    Is there a problem with debriefing?

    You may have heard of problems with debriefing. We have written extensively on the topic. See our publications or contact us for more details.


    Psychotherapy. We offer psychotherapy, a "talking treatment", in which the therapist works with you to achieve goals over a number of sessions. Though occasionally we use other approaches, our therapy is usually based on cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT). This type of therapy focuses on how your thoughts, feelings, and behaviour affect each other, and look at practical ways to help you achieve your goals.

    Course. After an initial assessment we will discuss whether you need a further appointment. We may agree to meet for a set number of sessions and then review treatment, or to discuss at each appointment whether another is needed.

    Collaborative approach. We work collaboratively with you to help you gain more control over your life, and may ask you to complete tasks between sessions.

    Working with children and families

    Parent involvement. How we work with children changes depending on their emotional maturity. We usually involve parents, but less so as children grow older, depending on children's preferences and consent.

    First appointments. In a first appointment (assessment or debriefing), there is a choice between the whole family coming together, or our assessing children and adults' needs separately. Sometimes it is important to consider each family member's needs in the context of the whole family, and to help the family work together on functioning better. At other times it is more helpful to focus on individual needs within the family.

    How we assess. To assess a child's needs, we usually begin with the whole family together, and may see children alone for part of the time, but will normally need to speak with at least one parent for most of the appointment. If you are coming as a family and want us to assess fully the needs of both children and parents, you may need to make a separate appointment for parents.

    Separately or together. Where children in a family have been living in a host country together, or have been affected by the same critical event, it is good to offer them the opportunity of debriefing together with their siblings and parents, but parents and children can sometimes be debriefed separately.

    Therapeutic approach. Our therapeutic approach tends to emphasise the child's behaviour more than their thoughts and feelings, again depending on their emotional maturity. Especially with younger children, we tend to work closely with parents and aim to help them find the best ways to help their children.

    For children to read. Children can read information our services here.

    How we communicate with you

    Overview. We offer remote services by email, Skype, Zoom, telephone, and other platforms. We may use any of these, and postal services and other methods, to contact you or others in connection with your care. There are limitations to the security of all forms of communication. Many of our clients work in contexts where they are unable to access the most secure communication methods. Where the choice is between insecure therapy and no therapy at all, we prefer to offer therapy, provided clients are aware of the risks.


    Emailing you. Regular email is not a secure way of communicating. We may use it to arrange appointments, but do not use it to send unencrypted sensitive personal data. To communicate sensitive personal information, we may send you encrypted information via an email attachment or link that you will need a password to open. We will agree with you a way to send the password through a separate channel (e.g. SMS).

    Emailing us. You are welcome to email us or contact us between sessions. We may not always be able to respond immediately, and may defer our response until the next session. When you email or contact us, please be aware of the risks and consider sending sensitive information in a more secure way. If we have begun work with you, or worked with you before, we may ask you to use a secure method to email sensitive personal information. We have a variety of methods available for sensitive communication, and you may have your own. Ask us if you are unsure how to communicate securely.

    Video/audio calls

    Security. We take security seriously when offering therapy online by video apps like Zoom and Skype, and continually review the most suitable ways to talk. Many of our clients who work in sensitive environments recognose that security has to be considered alongside functionality and availability, nothing is 100% secure, and imperfect communication is better than no communication at all. There is little consensus among security, IT, or healthcare professionals about the most secure platforms. Telephone calls are not encrypted. Rooms could be bugged by determined governments. The most secure videoconferencing platforms do not always work reliably enough, or can be used only on smartphones, which carry their own risks. Compare bedside consultations behind curtains in a hospital emergency ward.

    We find that Skype or Zoom usually work well enough and have good enough security for our work. We may use Skype for voice and audio calls, but we do not use Skype chats for sensitive personal information. See our article on Skype for a full discussion of our views on Skype, which have not been changed by technology updates by 2020. We may also use Zoom for video calls, especially with a group, and with the full privacy protection that Zoom offers. Skype and Zoom are encrypted end to end but there is some concern that calls can be decoded on their servers. We may occasionally use more secure platforms like Whatsapp or VSee when they work well for users. We do not generally use Facebook Messenger for therapy or confidential work.

    How we arrange calls. For a remote appointment, we will arrange an agreed time and aim to call you, or send you a link or the information you need to connect. We may ask you to provide another means of getting in contact (such as your phone number) in case of any problems. We may send a password to a separate email address or phone number to safeguard the call. We will usually use video unless the connection may be poor. If the connection drops, we will try to call you back. We may disconnect the call if a connection drops to help make a new connection. If a connection drops when you have disclosed information which leads us to believe you or someone else is at risk of harm, we may need to take action before speaking to you again.

    What you need. Please let us know what form of calling suits you best. If you come to see us face to face, we would normally make sure we can provide water, snacks, paper tissues, pens and paper, and sometimes creative materials for working with children. We recommend you make sure you have those available if you are speaking with us remotely. We also ask you to ensure that you are able to speak privately without interruption. If you have children make sure they are safe and arrange childcare if you need it. If your child is speaking to us, please discuss with us beforehand whether they will be alone or will have a parent with them in the room. Wired connections, if you can set them up, are more reliable than wifi. If you are speaking to us as a family, please consider whether it would work better for each of you to speak on your own device or all on the same device. It helps if you can provide an alternative means of contact in case the connection drops.

    International restrictions. The law sometimes restricts where we can provide online psychological services. For instance, if you are in the USA or Canada (even temporarily), we cannot normally provide an online psychological service to you. There are some exceptions. Please contact us to ask. Some countries define online professional services as taking place in the country where the provider is, but in many the legal position is unclear. We ask you to let us know where you will be for an online appointment, so we can try and check any legal restrictions in advance.

    Other communication

    Please let us know if you are running late for an appointment, using our phone number if we have given it. We may be able to respond if you contact us between sessions, but may defer a full response until the next session.


    Overview. We are careful to protect your personal information, following both our professional standards and the law. We describe separately in our privacy policy how we comply with privacy law. We summarise below additional measures we take to protect your personal information whilst following professional standards.

    Notes. The notes we write about you are mainly for the benefit of our working with you. They help remind us of details we need to remember so that we do not have to keep asking you too many of the same questions. We try to record only the information about you that helps us provide you with a good service. You can expect us to provide you with a copy of your notes on request. In that instance, we may suggest meeting with you to go over your notes, as notes can be misunderstood out of context. In rare circumstances (such as if it would put you at serious risk) we may withhold information from you.

    Security. We take client confidentiality and security very seriously, and store paper notes and electronic records securely in a variety of forms, including encrypted clouds and external media.

    Feedback. We may give you the opportunity to complete a feedback survey with SurveyMonkey. SurveyMonkey reports feedback to us anonymously, so we cannot identify you or even your IP address. We may make use of feedback anonymously in the following ways:

  • by posting it on our website;
  • in reports to the Panahpur Trust, who help subsidise our work;
  • or to our regulators, the Health and Care Professions Council, if they audit our work.

  • Further information. See our privacy policy for further details of the information we collect about you, what we do with it, why, and what you can do about it.


    Standards. Our priority as professionals is to keep children and vulnerable adults safe. As registered Practitioner Psychologists we comply fully with our professional standards to safeguard individuals who work with us. We share information with statutory authorities to keep children and adults safe, following the guidelines laid out by local or other applicable safeguarding policy and professional standards. See Confidentiality above for further details.

    Working environment. We work out of our home base near Nottingham and may see adults on their own. You are welcome to bring a friend or family member with you. When we work with children and their families, one of us may see a child on their own in a separate room with the consent of a parent who is usually present elsewhere in the building.

    DBS checks are provided for employers to assist in recruitment decisions. We do not have DBS clearance for our roles as self-employed clinical psychologists. We each have current DBS clearances for our voluntary work in other roles. Your organisation may apply for a DBS check for us if you are contracting our services.


    What if we meet you elsewhere. Some of our work is in the public domain, or includes offering training and retreats attended by others. We also acknowledge that the mission sector we work in is a small world with many close connections. We may meet individual clients in other roles or contexts. If we do, we will not discuss the existence or content of therapeutic relationships in public.

    When it might be better not to work with you. Professional ethics advise extreme caution concerning relationships between therapists and clients outside therapy, and we need to hold those ethics in tension with the realities of working in a close-knit community. If you already know us from other contexts, you and we will need to consider whether it would be better for you to see someone else to meet you individual psychological needs.

    Social media. We do not accept contact requests from clients on social media. You are welcome to use our public Facebook page, or Debbie Hawker's or David Hawker's LinkedIn pages, to make general comments about our services or to like or endorse them. But please do not post confidential information there about you or anyone else.

    Googling you. We do not routinely conduct internet searches for individuals or families we work with. If you have a significant web presence that you would like us to be aware of, please direct us to it. You are welcome to search for us on the internet.


    Portions of this page were adapted from information leaflets designed by InterHealth Worldwide and Dr Aaron Balick.

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