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Informed Consent Process in Therapy Essay



Counselors and psychology practitioners provide therapeutic services to clients who need full information about the nature and the consequences of such services. It is because the clients have legal and ethical rights to be informed about the underlying potential results of any therapeutic service. Therefore, mental health professionals are responsible for providing accurate information to clients because therapeutic services often affect the client’s emotional, social, and mental operation.

Providing full information to clients during therapeutic sessions is crucial because it shows respect for the client’s rights to autonomy, human dignity, and freedom. Therefore, informed consent is defined as the process of disclosing to the client relevant information about the client’s needs so that he or she can make reasonable decisions. Informed consent empowers the clients to make free consent in a free society.

A list of the Elements that are needed for Informed Consent

Several elements are required for informed consent. These elements vary from each other. They depend on the type of clients that psychotherapists engage with for informed consent. They include the following:

  1. The kind of decisions the client makes: This element focuses on the ability of the client to make consent freely without coercion.
  2. Available options to proposed intervention: The alternatives provide a backup intervention i.e. if the proposed intervention fails another intervention replaces it.
  3. Evaluation of the client’s understandings: This element requires the psychotherapists to assess the extent to which the client comprehends the information that he/she needs to make informed decisions.
  4. The client’s approval of the intervention: The client must accept the intervention before the therapist proceeds to implement it.
  5. Possible risks, benefits, and uncertainties associated with each intervention option: This element requires the practitioner to know all the risks and/or benefits the client is likely to face during the process of informed consent.
  6. The client’s knowledge: This element focuses on the knowledge an average mental-health client needs to be an informed participant in the context of therapy.
  7. The client’s competency: Adults who cannot provide their consent are represented by legal representatives. On the other hand, children who cannot provide their consent are represented by parents or legally bound guardians.

A script on how you will explain the various things in Informed Consent

Informed consent entails various aspects that need explanations for the client to understand. Unfortunately, there are no particular guidelines to explain these things. However, practitioners follow general instructions to explain those aspects so that informed consent becomes effective.

To begin with, the therapists ensure that the clients under therapy understand the language used for communication. Therefore, they give the clients information about informed consent, either orally or in writing. An example of written work is the client information brochure. This document outlines all the fundamental details of the things that informed consent needs to be conducted successfully.

The second step is to prepare a list of questions. This list will contain relevant questions that will help the client to participate actively in the discussion. The questions will primarily focus on the client’s needs and perceptions.

The third step entails the identification and definition of the client’s rights. It makes the client feel a sense of self-worth and respect. Moreover, the elements are clearly explained to ensure that information is provided efficiently and interestingly to shorten the informed consent process.

The next step involves the presentation of the guidelines explaining the informed consent to the client. The guidelines will elaborate on the purpose, procedures, risks, and possible alternatives. Also, the client is issued a summary of the study information that everyone understands.

The last step involves allowing the subjects to read the contents of the study information so that they can understand for themselves. The therapist answers all the arising questions appropriately to facilitate clients’ free consent.

How you will explain Informed Consent to an Intoxicated Client

Explaining informed consent to an intoxicated client is difficult because the client’s mental abilities are impaired. However, intoxicated clients also need informed consent before offering them therapeutic or treatment services. The procedure provided below is used to help the therapist to explain informed consent to an intoxicated client.

Assess the level of intoxication, by the policies and procedures of the organization, before providing any information to the intoxicated client. Treat the client with respect and provide him/her with clear information regardless of the level of intoxication. Wait until the client becomes sober before giving informed consent in cases of severe intoxication, or the client cannot consent. Moreover, use clear messages that are aimed at changing the intoxicated client’s impaired impulse and cognitive control.

Introduce yourself to the client. It will stimulate the client’s reasoning about where he/she is and help in measuring his/her level of intoxication. Besides, this will help in foretelling the kind of response, or behavior that is likely to prevail throughout the counseling process. Therefore, continue to explain informed consent if you notice that the client can consent.

Prepare the client for the discussion by asking him/her to tell you his/her name. After knowing the name, inform the client about his or her responsibility to provide informed consent and why he/she is under therapy. As a practitioner, think, and guide the informed consent session because highly intoxicated clients may lack cognitive ability. It will bring about control and reduce repulsive behavior from the client.

Finally, explain informed consent by using short sentences to enable the client to understand it efficiently. Remind the clients to ask questions if they encounter any misunderstandings.

How you will explain Informed Consent to a Mandated Client by the Authorities

When the client has been mandated by authorities to seek informed consent from mental professionals, the professionals must observe several ethical and legal principles to effectively explain informed consent. You should handle the process of explaining informed consent carefully because voluntariness is non-existent in mandated informed consent. Therefore, observe general ethics such as maintaining the client’s human dignity and welfare.

Inform the client of your role and obligation to the authorities that required informed consent from the client. Moreover, consider the clients as people who are willing to receive directives and participate in the exercise of therapy.

Furthermore, explain to the client the services they are going to receive according to the court order, and the level of confidentiality to be observed in the scenario. Mandated clients have a feeling that they are coerced to participate in counseling or therapy, thus for informed consent to occur, ensure that a non-coercive relationship with the client exists. It will assure the client of his/her confidentiality and reporting of the consent. Finally, inform the client that some degree of information will be shared according to the third party’s request, but it will be done in a limited manner.

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"Informed Consent Process in Therapy." IvyPanda, 21 Feb. 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/informed-consent-process-in-therapy/.

1. IvyPanda. "Informed Consent Process in Therapy." February 21, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/informed-consent-process-in-therapy/.


IvyPanda. "Informed Consent Process in Therapy." February 21, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/informed-consent-process-in-therapy/.


IvyPanda. 2021. "Informed Consent Process in Therapy." February 21, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/informed-consent-process-in-therapy/.


IvyPanda. (2021) 'Informed Consent Process in Therapy'. 21 February.

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