Informed Consent – Couples Counselling
What is Informed Consent?
Counselling or therapy is based on the professional relationship between a qualified counsellor or psychotherapist, and yourselves, the client. This relationship demands certain responsibilities of the individuals involved. During the course of therapy, the counsellor will endeavour to keep their clients informed of the purpose and nature of procedures or interventions, and clients are encouraged to ask questions and be informed. By signing an Informed Consent document, clients indicate their voluntary participation.
About Couples Counselling
Couples therapy is a process of identifying interaction and communication patterns that are negatively impacting the friendship, intimacy, and fulfillment of needs of one or both partners in a relationship.
Each partner will be expected to honestly examine their own interaction and communication styles, identify and express their own feelings, and make an attempt at experimenting with alternative methods of communicating and interacting. Each partner will be helped to further clarify their values and level of commitment to the relationship.
Counselling often involves discussing unpleasant aspects of life, which some may find difficult to share with a loved one. Clients may experience resistance at first, and they will likely experience a range of uncomfortable feelings. These may include sadness, guilt, shame, anger, frustration, loneliness, or helplessness. When clients experience these feelings, they are encouraged to discuss them with their partner and therapist so that these feelings can be addressed.
No Secrets Policy
As therapist to both partners and with their relationship as the client, we have a strict “No Secrets” policy. During the course of couples therapy, individual sessions may be held with one partner, whereby secrets may be revealed. The “No Secrets” policy seeks to avoid conflicts of interest whereby the interests of one party is inconsistent with the interests of the couple.
Limitations of Couples Counselling
Couples counselling will only be effective in cases where both partners put in a good faith effort to work on their problems and their relationship. Deliberate dishonesty or deceit, unwillingness to introspect and take responsibility for one’s actions, or lack of interest and motivation to engage in the couples therapy process by one or both partners will undermine therapy.
Length of Couples Counselling
Couples counselling can take anywhere from 5 to 20 scheduled sessions to achieve desired goals. The length of time depends on severity level of problems, history of past trauma, infidelity or betrayals, and the presence of co-occurring emotional or psychological issues such as mood disorders, depressive symptoms, substance use problems, or personality disorder traits, and/or to limitations mentioned above.
All information disclosed within sessions is confidential and may not be revealed to anyone without written permission except where disclosure is permitted or required by law.
Those situations include but are not limited to: (a) when there is reasonable suspicion of abuse to a child or to a dependent or elder adult; (b) when the client communicates a threat of bodily injury to others; (c) when the client is suicidal; (d) when the client has been physically injured due to violence.
In couples counselling, except in the situations mentioned above, the consent of both individuals are required for records to be released to a third party.
Counsellors receive occasional professional consultation. In such cases, neither clients’ names nor any identifying information about them is revealed.
Court Proceedings/Subpoena of records
It is understood that the purpose of couples counselling is for the amelioration of distress within a relationship. Therefore, if couples both request our services, they are not to use information given to us during the therapy process against the other party, or subpoena our testimony or records to be presented in a deposition or court hearing of any kind for any reason, such as a divorce case.
Progress notes will be made during and/or after each session. These notes are to help us identify areas of concern which may require further therapeutic work in future. Because these are professional records, they can be misinterpreted and/or upsetting to untrained readers. If clients wish to see progress notes, it is recommended that they are reviewed together with their counsellor so that any questions they may have can be addressed immediately.
Duration and Fees
Fees for couples therapy are $130 for a 50-minute session, and $190 for a 80-minute session.
Payment is due at the beginning of each session, and may be paid by credit card, etransfers, in cash or by cheque. Official receipts are issued upon payment.
A minimum of 48 hours advance notice is requested for the cancellation and rescheduling of appointments. The full fee will be charged for missed appointments, and a $80 fee will be charged for cancellations with less than 24 hours notice for non-medical reasons.