Purpose: to provide guidelines for clients, clinicians, team members, and community members to ensure protection of safety, privacy, and confidentiality, while allowing for a maximum amount of community participation and engagement.
Reason: we recognize that engaging in community activities can be an immensely beneficial experience for people, especially those from marginalized communities. We believe the benefits of community can exist alongside the benefits of the therapy room, and strive to create a safe way for clients and team members to ethically engage across contexts.
Themes of these guidelines: autonomy, privacy, boundaries, empowerment, small communities, flexibility, connection, engagement, healing, consultation, self-reflection, anticipation
TGM Mission: To unfold, unearth, and understand. To explore, empower, and elevate. To teach and learn, adapt and evolve. To create, contribute, cooperate, and collaborate. To foster wellness, wholeness, and healing. Together.
TGM Values: We value a robust definition of mental health care. We value science and use evidence-based methods to inform our work. As artists, we value creativity and intuition. We value non-judgement and unconditional positive regard. We value education and lifelong learning. We value restorative justice.
TGM Commitments: We are committed to providing the time, space, and expertise to help our clients and communities create insight and healing. We are committed to fostering a conscious community and engaging in community care, activism, and advocacy. We are committed to creating accessible mental health resources for people, regardless of identity or economic status. We are committed to actively protecting the safety and wellness of our team members, clients, and communities.
Team Member – Any of TGM’s contracted staff who have been offered formal status, which is signified in various ways, including representation on the TGM website, having a TGM email address, and participating in team meetings and activities.
Clinician – a Team Member who provides clinical services in a protected field, such as therapists, social workers, and clinical psychologists.
Client – an individual who receives counseling or psychological services via TGM clinicians. Clients are discharged based on policies outlined in the clinical consent forms.
Community events – TGM-hosted events such as workshops, productions, showcases, classes, and experiential learning activities.
Dual Relationships – When a TGM team member and a client engage across two or more contexts
A Small Community Approach:
At TGM, we recognized that everyone has multiple roles in their lives; some personal and professional boundaries may overlap when sharing space within small communities. Small communities include geographical size (e.g., Denton is a small town) but can also refer to small cultural communities, such as the Queer or Deaf communities.
Small communities face unique challenges:
- Lack of access to resources (financial, social, safety)
- Sometimes dual relationships are appropriate, healthy, and healing
- Inherent difficulty in finding knowledgeable and competent care for marginalized groups
- Often, traditional or mainstream “care” can be traumatic/harmful by well-meaning folks
- The field of mental health care has a long history of targeting and exploiting vulnerable populations, which makes some settings/approaches inherently triggering
- The concept of 100% separation from clients assumes power and privilege, and is based on cultural values that may not be shared by community members (e.g., individualism, colonization)
Frequently Asked Questions
If you are a client with TGM, or you work on our community events, you may have questions about privacy and dual relationships.
If I am a client, can I attend/participate in community events put on by TGM? Or, if I am involved in community events, can I become a client?
Yes! We want you to be able to get the care you need, both in private and in the community. Be sure and talk with your clinician about your participation so you can both make sure you feel safe and protected.
Your therapist will always consider appropriate boundaries around the therapeutic relationship, and you can work together to make sure those boundaries are protected and honored.
Who knows I am a client?
Your privacy is of ABSOLUTE importance to our team. We will never disclose your status as a client to anyone without your permission.
Therapists and administrators are the only people who can see the clinical schedule – other TGM team members do not know who our clients are, and do not have access to confidential records.
Therapists cannot see other therapists’ records or notes, and any professional consultation is done without mentioning your name or other identifying information.
In fact, in community settings your therapist may pretend not to know you, unless you approach them first. This is to make sure you have control over who knows about your relationship with TGM.
Will it be weird if I see my therapist in a community space?
Different people have different reactions to seeing their therapist in a community setting. Some people don’t mind at all, and others find themselves feeling awkward or uncomfortable.
Be sure and talk with your therapist about what might happen if you see each other in a community space. Your therapist will be prepared to talk about the impact of that type of encounter, and will always be mindful of how it might affect you.
If you encounter your therapist in a smaller community setting, your therapist will discreetly ease out of the situation in a way that protects your privacy and safety.
It is important to remember that your therapist cannot provide any kind of therapy in community settings. If you need support in those settings, check in with a friend, family member, or text 741741 for immediate support.
All of our therapists are trained to talk about these kinds of issues, and are committed to providing safe spaces for you to learn, heal, grow, and flourish.
What about community events that involve money?
At some TGM community events, there may be financial compensation for certain things, such as sales of art or merchandise, artist residency stipends, performer fees, etc.
Finances related to community events are kept completely separate from finances related to clinical settings.
Client account balances and therapy fees are considered confidential and will never be discussed or disclosed in community settings.
Clinicians will never provide direct payments to any TGM clients under any circumstances, and will not have explicit knowledge of details such as payout agreements, amounts, and timing.
Money management that impacts clients involved in community events will only be handled by non-clinical Team Members.
TGM event coordinators and staff do not know anything about clients’ therapy fees, account balances, or other clinical financial issues.
A client’s account balance and fee arrangement will not impact or overlap with financial agreements in community settings.
The TGM team promises to:
Model civility, integrity, emotionality, humanity, courage, humility, and, when appropriate, duality.
Uphold ethical obligations and care for the community. It is our job to be ethical, to act on clients’ behalf, and to avoid harm.
Always be open about our roles (and the boundaries of our roles) at TGM and in the community.
Answer clients’ basic and legitimate questions about our values and beliefs, including thoughts on dual relationships.
Be transparent and seek support. If a clinician or team member finds themselves in a dual relationship which either is not benefiting the client or is causing distress and harm, or has unexpectedly brought about conflict of interest, they will consult and, if necessary, the TGM clinician or team member will stop or ease out of the dual relationship in a way that preserves the client’s welfare in the most healthy way
Your Wellness Comes First.
At TGM, we are dedicated to your wellness, and will always strive to protect your privacy.
If you are a client, please be sure to review the documentation provided in your client portal, and discuss any concerns or questions with your therapist.
If you still have questions or concerns about dual relationships, please contact us to discuss the issue with a TGM Director.