Confidentiality around mental health is paramount at the best of times, but at Bikur Cholim it is even more so, says the charity’s Yocheved Eiger, because of the nature of a tight religious community where everybody seems to know everybody else.
“You have those challenges in a close-knit community where people who come into therapy may be related to another therapist, so we’ll be very careful not to match people with people they may know personally.
“Whilst other services don’t accept clients with connections to therapists, that isn’t possible here, because it’s almost inevitable that someone is going to be related, or a neighbour, or something.
“We’ve discussed it. All our therapists are signed up to our service accepting family members, who would be seen by another therapist. There is an enormous emphasis on confidentiality. The therapist who knows the user won’t know they’re using us.
“Two people do the initial assessments and immediately change names to code. In other services therapists can access the full files of all users, but here they can only access the files of clients they support. It works. We had a therapist’s sibling come for therapy and the sibling who works for us never knew. They still don’t!”