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Informed Consent

Informed Consent

Informed Consent in the Counseling Relationship and Informed Consent in Research


            In research and counseling, the goals of informed consent and its verification are the same. Informed consent is primarily used to respond to (enforce and reflect) the moral value of respect for an individual. This embodies at least two fundamental ethical principles: first, that people should be considered autonomous entities, and second, that people who lack autonomy and are entitled to protection have a right to receive counseling (Blease et al., 2018).


The widespread perception is that informed consent in research is distinguishable from informed consent in psychotherapy. Informed consent in research is a formal procedure. Federal requirements demand that the researcher create a thorough explanation of the components of informed consent for dissemination to potential participants. In some circumstances, the researcher must also arrange to supply extra information at specific predetermined points while conducting the research. The researcher must submit these proposals for examination and approval by the institutional review board (IRB) before reaching out to any potential subjects (Manti & Licari, 2018). A consent form that includes all the consent requirements must be verified by the participant and kept by the researcher. This entire request is often believed to be completed in a single meeting. The relationship between the researcher and the subject is typically thought of as short-lived, lasting only a few hours to a few weeks, and ending once the researcher has achieved their goal. People with little autonomy are typically not recruited as research participants by researchers.

In contrast, informed consent is typically viewed as very casual in counseling. Federal rules do not specify the components of information, nor are the plans subject to committee assessment such as IRB. Except for the relatively brief and uninformative authorization or consent documents used for autopsies, operations, and other invasive treatments, there is little verification of informed consent in most counseling (Blease et al., 2018). Usually, discussions resulting in consent to the general plans for engagement between a doctor and patient do not occur within a single interaction. Instead, there is usually some informing and some consenting at each meeting. There is presumptively a long-term relationship between the subject and the psychotherapist (Blease et al., 2018). Many patients lack their whole level of autonomy in counseling, especially when they most require medical attention.


Blease, C., Kelley, J. M., & Trachsel, M. (2018). Informed consent in psychotherapy: implications of evidence-based practice. Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy48(2), 69-78.

Manti, S., & Licari, A. (2018). How to obtain informed consent for research. Breathe14(2), 145-152. 10.1183/20734735.001918


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Informed Consent

Informed Consent

Review the ACA Code of Ethics statements regarding Informed Consent in the Counseling Relationship (A.2) and Informed Consent in Research (G.2.a). What are some similarities and differences between these two types of Informed Consent?

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