Continuing Education & Resources for Mental Health Professionals

Ethical Information

Informed Consent Chart for
Counselors, Psychologists, and Social Workers

LIST OF SELECTED ETHICAL STANDARDS RELATED TO
INFORMED CONSENT FOR THERAPY*
Compiled by Mary Alice Fisher, Ph.D. (2006; updated 2014, 2016)
The Center for Ethical Practice
934 East Jefferson Street, Charlottesville VA 22902

Numbers below refer to selected Ethical Standards in Ethics Codes of the respective professions.
Click on name of each profession for text of these selected standards.
Other Ethical Standards may also apply – – See bottom of page for link to complete Ethics Codes.

Psychologists Social
Workers
Counselors
I. For ALL CLIENTS, Discuss the Following:
(Using clear language & allowing client to ask questions) 3.10a; 10.01a 1.03a, b A.2.a, b, d
Limits of Confidentiality; Foreseeable Uses of Information 4.02b; 10.01a 1.07e A.2.b; B.1.d
Nature, Purpose, & Anticipated Course of Services 3.11; 10.01a 1.03a A.2.b
Fees and Billing Arrangements 10.01a; 6.04 1.03a; 1.13 A.2.b
Client’s Right to Refuse Services 3.10; 10.01b 1.03a,d A.2.a,b
Involvement of Third Parties 10.01a 1.03c,e;1.07h; 3.06 A.3
Potential Limits of Services Because of Finances 6.04d 1.03a A.2.b; A.10.d
Risks; availability of alternative services 10.01b 1.03a A.2.b
If experimental treatment will be used 10.01b 1.04c
Inform client if therapist is a trainee in supervision 10.01c F.5.c
If recording or observing, obtain consent in advance 4.03 1.03f B.6.c, d
Time frame covered by the consent 1.03a
Technology and its risks 4.02c 1.03e H.2.a, b, c
II. For MINORS, Also: 3.10b; 4.02a 1.03 c; 1.14 A2.d; B.5.a,b,c
Provide explanations (above); involve others as appropriate
Obtain assent; include in decision making if possible Consider his/her best interests
III. For COUPLES/FAMILIES, Also: (see summary + checklist ) 10.02a,b 1.06d, f,g;1.07 A.8; B.4.b
Clarify “who is the client?”
Clarify relationship with each person
Clarify your role. Discuss any conflicting roles
Explain probable uses of information gathered
IV. For GROUPS, Also: (see summary) 10.03 1.07f,g A8; B.4.a
Explain participants’ confidentiality rules
Clarify roles and responsibilities of all parties
V. If services provided AT THIRD PARTY REQUEST, Also: 3.07 1.03d A.2.c
Clarify relationships with all involved parties
Clarify own role (therapist, evaluator, consultant, etc.)
(If this is a court-related role, see chart)
Identify who is the client
Discuss probable uses of the information obtained
VI. If provided THRU AGENCY/ORGANIZATION, Also: 3.11a  1.07  B.3.a, b
Clarify nature and objectives of the service
Identify which individuals are clients
Clarify your relationship with each person and with agency
Discuss probable uses of information obtained
(e.g., Who will have access to information? When?)
VII. If you will have MULTIPLE ROLES
&/or If you foresee CONFLICT OF INTEREST, Also:
 3.05c; 3.06; 10.02b  1.06d
Clarify role expectations and the extent of confidentiality
Inform clients of real or potential conflict of interest
Clearly define/maintain professional and social boundaries
VIII. If services COURT-ORDERED or in JUDICIAL SETTING: 3.05c; 3.07; 3.10c 1.06d D.1.e; E.13
Before proceeding, clarify role and limits of confidentiality
(see
chart of ethical responsibilities in court-related roles)
Ix. If SERVICES ARE INVOLUNTARY:  1.03d  A.2 .e
Explain nature/extent of planned services and right to refuse

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[NOTE:  You can see links to the text of the above Standards by profession]

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*Numbers refer to Ethical Standards in Ethics Codes of the respective professions.
Other Ethical Standards may also apply.

SOURCES:
Psycholologists: “APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct”
http://www.apa.org/ethics/code/index.aspx

Social Workers: “NASW Code of Ethics”
http://www.socialworkers.org/pubs/code/code.asp

Counselors: “ACA Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice”
http://www.counseling.org/Resources/aca-code-of-ethics.pdf

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