Understanding Therapy Consent Forms Series
We continue our series on informed consents for treatment in therapy with the discussion of risks & benefits of mental health treatment.
There will always be pros and cons in life. “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”, or so the saying goes. This also applies in therapy. Although there are some risks, there are also a plethora of benefits of therapy treatment.
You should have this discussion with your therapist at the onset of treatment. Not every therapist will include this in their written consent for treatment. Whether it is written in your informed consent or just a conversation with your therapist, this is an important discussion to have.
Therapy can help a person to gain new understanding about their challenges and to learn new ways of coping with and solving those problems such as anxiety, anger, depression, parenting or relationship concerns. Therapy can also help a person to develop new skills and to change behavior patterns. Therapy can contribute to improved ability to cope with stress and difficult situations, and can increase understanding of self and others.
Therapy, whether individual, couple, family, or group, focuses on resources, solutions and strategies to deal with your presenting problem. While your therapist will ask about many areas of your life, the focus of therapy will be on working toward your specific goals. In order for therapy to be effective, it is necessary for you to take an active role. Participation involves discussing your concerns openly, completing assignments, and providing feedback to your therapist about the progress of therapy.
While there are potential benefits to therapy there is no guarantees of success, and potential risks also exist. During therapy, emotions and memories may be stimulated which can evoke strong feelings and changes in awareness may alter your self-perceptions, ways of relating to others, and/or commitment to relationships. The process of personal change can be quite varied and individual.
A special note on telehealth services. There are added risks that pertain to the technology being used. Potential for security breaches or being disconnected due to poor connections in a vulnerable moment. Please always evaluate if this is the appropriate form of treatment for you and your unique mental health needs.
Although these risks exist, it is important to recognize that the benefits often drastically out way the initial feelings of vulnerability. I always remind my clients that there are no “magic wands” in therapy. The level of effort put into therapy determines what you get out of the process. If you are ready to start therapy, book a consultation to see if I may be the right fit for your needs.