Some members of the Imanadari Counselling team have LGBTIQA+ identity, experience, or characteristics. Due to the small size of the Sydney Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Intersex, Asexual, PLUS inclusive communities, inadvertent crossover between our counsellors' professional and personal lives can occasionally occur. We at Imanadari Counselling do our utmost to respect the privacy of people coming to us for professional counselling and to ensure a level of privacy around our counsellors' own sexuality, relationship, and lifestyle choices. Below are some boundaries to which Imanadari staff adhere to ensure that we are able to work respectfully and ethically within a small community, while continuing to employ staff members who are LGBTIQA+.
It almost goes without saying that we will not out anyone’s sexual interests, past or current gender identity, relationship styles, intimate body characteristics, or activities. If you meet in public, your counsellor will take their cue from how you acknowledge them. Otherwise, your counsellor may make eye contact, smile or nod, but will not go beyond that.
Friends and Acquaintances
There are prohibitions against dual relationships occurring while you are engaged in a therapeutic relationship and for a period of two years after therapy ends. Generally, this refers to romantic relationships, sexual activity, and being good friends outside of the therapy relationship. It might also extend to some business relationships. And it can include family members, significant others and close friends of people coming to Imanadari for counselling.
If you and your counsellor are acquaintances but do not know each other well, then you will need to discuss the implications of any prior interaction and knowledge of each other, as well as how it may limit your interactions in the future. If your counsellor becomes aware that both you and the counsellor are, or have ever been, in an ongoing romantic or sexual relationship with the same person, it can create a significant conflict of interest and you will need to be referred on to another counsellor.
Public and private spaces
If you come to Imanadari for counselling, you will need to agree to share with your counsellor any plans to attend events where you may encounter one another. Ideally, you would not attend the same social events. However, if after talking about it you still decide to go to the same event, you will need to set out some rules for the event that will allow you to limit your social interaction together.
If you unknowingly attend the same social function, you are welcome to stay as long as it is a group setting and your social interaction is limited.
I want to acknowledge the work of David Shannon, who is the original author of these guidelines. I am grateful to him for permission to use and adapt them.