What is Informed Consent
Psychotherapy is based on the professional relationship between a qualified counsellor or psychotherapist, and yourself, the client. This relationship demands certain responsibilities of the individuals involved, and as the client, you have clearly defined rights. During the course of therapy, your counselor will endeavour to keep you informed of the purpose and nature of procedures or interventions, and you have the right and freedom to participate or to refuse. You also have the right to ask questions about any aspect of the services provided.
Prior to the provision of services, you are asked to sign an Informed Consent form, indicating your voluntary participation. Please read the following carefully. If you have any questions or concerns, please share them with your counsellor.
Counselling has been shown to have many benefits, however, there are also some risks involved. Counselling often involves discussing unpleasant aspects of your life, which you may find difficult to share. You may experience resistance at first, and you will likely experience a range of uncomfortable feelings, and these may include sadness, guilt, shame, anger, frustration, loneliness, or helplessness. When you experience these feelings, you are encouraged to discuss them with your therapist so that these feelings can be addressed. Counselling has been shown to have great benefits for individuals who persist and are willing to dedicate themselves to the process.
Each counseling session will last 50 minutes. Arrangements for 90-minute sessions can be made with your therapist.
With the exception of specific situations described below, the privacy of all communications between clients and a counsellor or psychotherapist is protected by law. Information about our work cannot be released to third parties without your written permission. The specific exceptions are as follows:
(a) if a therapist believes there is a clear risk that a client will seriously harm himself or another, or if a therapist believes that a child is in need of protection, then the therapist is required to take protective action. This may include notifying the potential victim, contacting the police, or seeking hospitalization for the client.
(b) where there is legal or regulatory requirement to provide information to the court or a third party.
Progress notes will be made after each session. These notes are to help your therapist identify areas of concern which may require further work in future. Because these are professional records, they can be misinterpreted and/or upsetting to untrained readers. If you wish to see progress notes, it is recommended that they are reviewed together with your therapist so that any questions you may have can be addressed immediately.
Consultation and Supervision
Occasionally it is helpful for therapists to consult with other professionals about a case. During a consultation, every effort will be made to avoid revealing the identity of clients. The individual consulted is also legally bound to keep the information confidential. Counsellors, psychotherapists and psychologists are also encouraged to meet with supervisors, ie individuals who have many years of experience in the field, and whose role it is to provide us with an objective perspective of our work, guide us and make suggestions where appropriate. Read more about the role of supervision here.
Before starting a therapeutic course of work with your counsellor, do ensure that you as a client is clear about Informed Consent. Your counsellor is open and willing to discuss any concerns you may have. Therapy does not have to start until your questions have been responded to satisfactorily. Furthermore, you can ask questions regarding Informed Consent at any time during your work with your counsellor.