Communicating Therapeutic Risks (Recent Research in Psychology)

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Informed Consent in Psychotherapy & Counseling

In particular what aids recovery for people with anxiety and depression and how that recovery can be measured. She has a special interest in the use of hypnotherapy and emotional freedom technique in improving wellbeing.

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Section links. All Psychology staff Academic staff Research staff Postgraduate research students Professional services staff. Clients are most likely to improve if they trust their therapist, feel understood by their therapist and experience a genuine concern and support from their therapist. Other methods such as relaxation training, meditation, and so on may be suggested, but your therapist will use only approaches with which you agree.


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You have a right to be informed and to understand the purposes of these activities, as well as any risks, and reasonable chances of success of any approach. Homework may include reading, writing in a journal, practicing assertive communication, exploring job options, spending quality time with a partner, or any other activity designed to help the client learn something new, practice new skills or overcome anxiety.

You should always let your therapist know if you are uncomfortable with, or confused by, any homework they suggest.


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Regardless of how they approach psychotherapy, all Maps therapists begin by identifying what brings you to therapy and what goals you wish to achieve. They will ask you for specific symptoms in order to make a clinical diagnosis required by insurance companies , and they will ask you about your history, including any previous counseling or mental health treatment you may have had.

At Maps, we believe that a spiritual assessment is also important, and your therapist will likely ask about your understanding of spirituality, your spiritual or religious heritage, your religious or spiritual practices, and the importance or spirituality or religion in your life. Maps therapists understand that there may be things that you are reluctant or unwilling to disclose or discuss at the beginning of psychotherapy, but may be shared later as you learn to trust your therapist or gain confidence in the process of therapy.

Psychologists Use of E-mail with Clients:

Maps therapists also are sensitive to the importance of cultural factors in how people perceive their world, their problems and possible solutions. Sharing information about your specific cultural background or values is one way to improve the benefits of psychotherapy. The therapeutic relationship is not a social relationship, and therapists are discouraged from providing psychotherapy to individuals with whom they have personal or social connections. Psychotherapy rarely, if ever, involves physical contact other than a handshake or a pat on the shoulder.

Personal relationships, especially intimate relationships, are inappropriate and possibly illegal both during and after therapy has ended. Although you may feel very close to your therapist, please understand that the boundaries they place on the relationship are a necessary part of psychotherapy. The therapist may guide and support you during this process, but ultimately the work is done by you.

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Research has shown that most of the common approaches to therapy are about equally successful. Therapy is very helpful when the client is depressed, anxious, unhappy, a survivor of trauma, or suffering from a life-problem which requires lots of emotional energy. People who can talk and listen reasonably well, who are comfortable being alone with another person, and who are willing to pay attention to their own feelings, thoughts, and motivations probably will do well in psychotherapy.

Sometimes, the benefits of psychotherapy can be enhanced by medications designed to decrease depression or anxiety symptoms.

There are potential risks to psychotherapy. In rare cases, psychotherapy may even trigger some people to have thoughts about wanting to hurt themselves or end their lives. When this happens, your therapist will be able to help you understand and cope with these feelings safely, and can direct therapy to be more supportive until you are feeling stronger. It is always important that you tell your therapist if you are having any frightening or dangerous thoughts or feelings, or if you are considering harming yourself or someone else.

Some clients develop strong feelings about their therapists.