Assignment: Client Rights and Informed Consent in Counseling

Assignment: Client Rights and Informed Consent in Counseling

Assignment: Client Rights and Informed Consent in Counseling

Research Analysis: Stage 2

This week you will create the structure of your research analysis paper including the title page, introductory paragraph, outline of body of paper and reference page.

Research Analysis

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In Week 3, you selected a topic for your research analysis paper and began gathering the necessary research. This week you will utilize the research you located to create the structure of your research analysis paper including title page, introductory paragraph, outline of body of paper and reference page (be sure to include appropriate running head and page numbers).

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See the following information to guide your structure and writing:

APA style (

APA sample paper (

writing a literature review (

writing an introductory paragraph (

Assignment Expectations:

Length: at this stage, your paper will be 3 or 4 pages (title page, body, reference page)

When completed in the last module of the course, the paper should be 10-12 pages

References: provide the APA style reference list for all research utilized in the paper

Format: save your assignment as a Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx), Open Office (.odt) or rich text format (.rtf) file type

Submission: submit your assignment to the Drop Box

A Sample Of This Assignment Written By One Of Our Top-rated Writers

Client Rights and Informed Consent in Counseling

Clients with mental and behavioral disorders may need help understanding the intentions and rationale for therapeutic processes, considering the effects of the underlying health conditions. According to Corey et al. (2015), these clients may perceive therapeutic procedures and interventions as mysterious. As a result, professional counselors have the professional and ethical responsibility to educate clients regarding interventions, especially shared goals, desired outcomes, and potential benefits and risks. The obligation to inform clients about therapeutic interventions prompts counselors to obtain informed consent from care recipients. Blease et al. (2020) argue that clients have the right to timely and accurate information about therapeutic processes, including confidentiality issues. As a result, professional counselors should ensure voluntariness and explain all components of therapeutic procedures. Although providing quality therapeutic services is complex, respecting clients’ rights and obtaining informed consent promote their awareness of treatment options, improve their decision-making capacity, and enable therapists to align their practices with professional and ethical standards. This paper represents a structure of a research analysis paper aimed at investigating the rationale for upholding clients’ rights and obtaining informed consent in counseling.

Client Rights and Informed Consent

What is informed consent?

Informed consent represents a professional, legal, and ethical obligation to provide transparent information consistent with the client’s right to timely and accurate information. According to Eberle et al. (2021), psychotherapists should consistently update clients on therapeutic processes and exchange information pertinent to the therapeutic course. Therefore, informed consent in psychotherapy should be a continuous process rather than a one-time event. While expounding on the relationships between clients’ rights and informed consent, Trachsel & Holtforth (2019) contend that providing transparent information to clients is a moral duty and strengthens the individual’s right to self-determination and protection. Respect for self-determination, dignity, and protection aligns with the overarching goal of patient-centered care, which entails “providing care that is respectful of and responsive to individual patient preferences, needs, and values, and ensuring that patient’s values guide all clinical decisions” (p. 1).

Components of an informed consent

Amidst the requirement for psychotherapists to promote clients’ dignity, self-determination, and autonomy, they should provide adequate, transparent, and timely information on all elements of therapeutic processes. The components of therapeutic interventions account for the profound aspects of informed consent. Gerke et al. (2022) identify the patient’s decision-making capacity, disclosure of treatment information, patient understanding, statement of approval, and voluntariness as the essentials of truthful informed consent. Similarly, Drisko (2020) proposes five primary elements of informed consent: the nature of the intervention, a detailed explanation of the risks and benefits of the procedure, information regarding reasonable alternative treatment options, risks and benefits of alternative options, and an assessment of patient’s understanding of each component of the informed consent. Finally, psychotherapists should explain new models or therapeutic approaches that may impact the desired outcomes.

Challenges in obtaining informed consent

Although truthful informed consent is consistent with professional, legal, and ethical standards for psychiatry, adhering to its components is daunting for psychotherapists. According to Gerke et al. (2022), the significant challenges in obtaining informed consent include balancing the four bioethical principles and the increased risk of nocebo effects. For instance, autonomy and non-maleficence may conflict when obtaining truthful informed consent when psychotherapists indicate the potential risks of therapeutic procedures. Gerke et al. (2022) argue that patients who were initially informed about the possible side effects before commencing therapy are more likely to report these side effects than patients who did not receive information about therapeutic processes due to the phenomenon of negative prior learning experiences (nocebo effects). This aspect results in an ethical dilemma associated with patient autonomy and non-maleficence.

The rationale for informed consent

Although obtaining informed consent from clients is challenging for psychotherapists, it is an essential standard for psychiatric practices. Trachsel & Holtforth (2019) refer to truthful informed consent as a legal and moral legitimation for physical medicine and psychological interventions. The rationale for obtaining informed consent includes the following:

  • Supporting and strengthening the individual’s right to self& determination
  • Respect for autonomy, dignity, and patient well-being.
  • Promoting voluntariness
  • Protect clients from violations and malpractices that emanate from a lack of awareness and knowledge of the components of therapeutic procedures.
  • Promoting the tenets of collaborative and patient-centered care.


Informed consent is fundamental in psychiatry because it entails transparent and timely disclosure of information regarding care interventions. Many clients are often unaware of their rights and expectations of therapeutic interventions, making them susceptible to violations and malpractices. Similarly, they have the right to self-determination, voluntariness, and access to information. Therefore, counselors and other healthcare professionals in the psychiatric context have a professional, legal, and ethical obligation to obtain informed consent. Truthful informed consent should include explaining therapeutic interventions, potential risks and benefits, viable treatment alternatives, their risks and benefits, patient understanding, statement of consent, and voluntariness.


Corey, G., Callanan, P., Corey, C., & Schneider Corey, M. (2015). Issues and ethics in the helping professions (9th ed.). Cengage Learning.

Drisko, J. W. (2020). Incorporating evidence-based practice into informed consent practice. Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services, 102(1), 67–77.

Eberle, K., grosse Holtforth, M., Inderbinen, M., Gaab, J., Nestoriuc, Y., & Trachsel, M. (2021). Informed consent in psychotherapy: A survey on attitudes among psychotherapists in Switzerland. BMC Medical Ethics, 22(1).

Gerke, L., Ladwig, S., Pauls, F., Trachsel, M., Härter, M., & Nestoriuc, Y. (2022). Optimized informed consent for psychotherapy: Protocol for a randomized controlled trial. JMIR Research Protocols, 11(9), e39843.

Trachsel, M., & grosse Holtforth, M. (2019). How to strengthen patients’ meaning response by an ethical informed consent in psychotherapy. Frontiers in Psychology, 10(1747), 1–6.

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