Obtaining informed consent for services from clients is required of human services providers; however, it is not always an easy task. Clients typically grant consent by signing documents presented by the agency or the provider that, at minimum, explain the services that will be provided, the client rights, and information on the steps to rescind the consent.
In situations where minors or individuals under some form of guardianship are the clients, it is necessary to obtain consent from the legal guardian or authority. However, there are times when obtaining informed consent is not as simple as asking for a signature from the client or guardian. These situations require more thought by the human services providers with emphasis on balancing the client’s right to consent with other factors that might influence treatment outcomes or decisions.
In this assignment, you will review a case that illustrates the various facets of informed consent.
Smith is a thirty-eight-year-old African American male referred for counseling by his mother to address recent incidents of aggression. Smith resides with his mother because he is not able to live on his own. Smith is unable to hold on to a job and has difficulty establishing and maintaining relationships with others. He is open to counseling but thinks his mother is overreacting to his anger outbursts because she is old and does not understand him. Recently, there have been notable conflicts between them due to Smith’s aggressive behaviors that were directed toward his mother.
Analyze the case and in a 2- to 3-page paper, address the following:
- What steps would you, as the counselor, take for obtaining informed consent from Smith?
- Would you, as the counselor, include his mother in the counseling sessions, if you believe it would help with Smith’s aggression problem? Why or why not?
In your answers, consider the following:
- Smith is not able to live independently.
- Smith’s aggression might put his mother at risk if he does not get counseling.
- Smith has to comprehend what is being asked of him when he provides his consent to receive counseling services.
- There might be cultural differences between you and Smith.