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Ethics Statement

A statement on my ethical stance towards clients (plus some policies)

I care deeply about facilitating meaningful conversation, thought, and change for my clients. They are autonomous adults who bypass more-credentialed practitioners and approach me for philosophical life coaching instead because they see a potential here that is difficult to find elsewhere (more on my eclectic background here: "influences" page).

While I am ungoverned by any code of professional ethics, I remain deeply invested in ethical conduct (indeed, a fascination with ethical issues is what drew me to philosophy in the first place!)

Please find below my working statements on ethical issues (updated January 2020).

Do not hesitate to contact me if you have further questions about how I interact with readers/potential clients/clients.

Overall Ethos

I am an individual who offers conversational services to other individuals as a purely voluntary, unmediated, intellectual exercise.

Though clients may brainstorm their alternatives and begin to make choices in my conversational presence, these interactions are in no way binding or clinically mandated. Clients' choices are ultimately their prerogative and responsibility. This includes not just behavioral choices, but also what clients choose to believe philosophically.

Philosophical life coaching is only made possible against this backdrop of full agency. I will decline to work with clients who do not seem willing or able to engage in this way.

Confidentiality

HIPAA and other legal protections regarding confidentiality do not apply to me. However, I make every attempt to protect my clients' confidentiality.

In writing and verbally, I make only the most general of references to client situations (e.g. "men who work in STEM fields.")

My various online accounts (email, calendar, invoicing) are protected with strong, unique passwords managed by a commercially-available password manager. I jot down notes on paper during client sessions, but these notes do not contain individually identifying information and are subsequently destroyed.

Contact

Past, current, and potential clients can reach me anytime for any reason at pamelajhobart@gmail.com.

Please do not phone me except by appointment; I do not check my voicemail regularly.

I generally respond to emails within 24-36 hours (except for "coaching by email" clients, whose can expect substantive responses to their messages within the agreed-upon time frame)

Liability

I do not carry insurance in my capacity as a life coach.

In the first place, it's not legally required. But, much more importantly, I do not engage with clients in such a way as to incur moral responsibility for the things they choose to do.

Billing

When beginning work with a client, we agree to payment amounts and schedules in writing (email).

Some sessions are prepaid; I bill non-prepaid sessions at the end of each calendar month. Please pay invoices prior to the end of the calendar month following that in which services were received. I accept Venmo, Chase Quickpay/Zelle, and credit/debit cards processed via the Wave invoicing service.

Prices and terms are subject to change. All changes will be communicated in writing. In the case than an account becomes past due, I will decline to schedule additional phone appointments until payment has been made.

Referrals & Patient Abandonment

If I have established a working relationship with a client who seems to require further professional services (in my lay estimation), I will communicate that directly to the client. If s/he desires, I will assist the client in locating suitable assistance (e.g. psychotherapist, psychiatrist).

When a client needs assistance in excess of my capacity to provide it, it may become necessary to end or pause philosophical life coaching services until those separate needs are reasonably well-satisfied.

I have no desire to "abandon" patients, as is ethically forbidden in various other professions. At the same time, it makes little sense for clients to continue investing time and money in philosophical life coaching at a time when it does not directly address their most pressing personal needs.