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Issues and Ethics in the Helping Professions 10th Edition

Issues and Ethics in the Helping Professions (10th Edition)

Book Edition10th Edition
Author(s)Corey, Corey
PublisherCengage Learning
The Client's Right to Give Informed Consent
The Professional's Responsibilities in Record Keeping
Dealing with Suspended Unethical Behaviour of Colleagues
Suggested Activities
Chapter 5, The Client's Right to Give Informed Consent, The Case of Kiara, Exercise 01
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The ALGBTIC (2008) competencies have relevance to all mental health professionals. Consider these questions:


How would you react if 3 months into the therapeutic relationship you learned that your client was attracted to same-sex partners?


One of the major steps in any form of therapy is the collection of informed consent. It is an agreement signed by the client as an acknowledgment that they are aware of the therapy process and are willing to participate in the therapy process. It equally helps both the therapists and clients, the therapist can assure that the client is aware of the process as well as avoids the potential legal complications. On the other hand, it helps the clients to understand the overall therapy process. The collection of informed consent fulfills the ethical and legal requirements, and the unfulfillment of this requirement might bring negative consequences to the therapist.


The ethical and legal complications associated with Therapist K's practice are as follows:

  • The therapist failed to collect informed consent from the client, which is considered mandatory to collect during the initial sessions. The informed consent indicates that both therapist and client are mutually interested to work together toward the client's problem. Moreover, informed consent reveals the level of understanding of the client regarding the overall therapy process, which may involve the qualifications of the therapist, therapist's approach, duration of overall therapy, client's potential risks, fees, confidentiality, and its limitation. The absence of informed consent can put the therapist at risk for legal complications if the client engages in any dangerous activities like suicide or harming others.
  • Although the therapist explains the level of confidentiality maintained throughout the sessions, the possible situations where confidentiality can be breached are not explained to the client. That is, when the client is vulnerable to self-harm or harm to others, the therapist is expected to breach the confidentiality policy and inform the concerned people. However, the therapist failed to address those limitations. The client's lack of awareness about such confidentiality limitations might encourage them to reveal information that they could have hidden because of the legal complications. When the client engages in such risky behaviors and reveals it to Therapist K, Therapist K is likely to face legal complications because of the absence of informed consent and the client's poor awareness of confidentiality limitations.

Verified Answer

The following are the ethical and legal aspects involved in the therapeutic practice of Therapist K:

  • The failure to produce informed consent in the early therapeutic stages might put the therapist at risk for facing legal complications when the client ends up being in risky behaviors.
  • The insufficient information shared by the therapist to the client regarding the confidentiality limitations might put the therapist at risk for facing legal complications when the client engages in self-harm behavior or causing harm to others.
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