People seek therapy for many different reasons and medical conditions. Making that therapy accessible is part of your job as a therapist, but before treating patients, you need to have them sign a therapy consent form. These extensive documents detail the process, risks, benefits, therapist qualifications, patient rights, and more. They are often two to three pages long due to all the vital information they require. Choosing a high-quality professional template helps make creating custom therapy consent forms for your business efficient and straightforward. In this article, you’ll learn all about these vital documents and how to make them work for your practice and clients.
What Is a Therapy Consent Form?
A therapy consent form is a written agreement between a therapy provider and a client (or the client’s legal guardian) that outlines the therapy services to be provided, the rights and responsibilities of both parties, and the limits of confidentiality. This form is meant to protect the therapist from liability and to ensure that the client is informed of their rights throughout the therapeutic process.
Why Is a Therapy Consent Form Needed?
A therapy consent form is a legal document that outlines a patient’s rights and a therapist’s responsibilities when engaging in therapy. This document is necessary to ensure that both parties know and understand the expectations and potential risks associated with treatment. It also protects both parties in the case of any legal issues arising from their interactions. The patient should sign the consent form to demonstrate that they have agreed to the terms outlined in the document.
Essential Elements of Therapy Consent Form
The essential elements of therapy consent forms are extensive. These crucial documents cover a large variety of relevant topics and contain all the information your clients need to give their informed consent to the therapeutic process. Below we’ve created a basic outline of the elements you need to include, with descriptions of what belongs in each section.
- Business Name or Logo- This is a standard part of professional forms.
- Form Title- Your form title should always be in large bold print. It will say “Therapy Consent Form” or “Psychotherapy Informed Consent Form.”
- Statement of Intent- Explain in a couple of sentences what the intent of the therapy is and how it helps.
- Therapist Credentials- Write a paragraph about the therapist’s experience and credentials.
- Relationship- Explain the nature of the patient-doctor relationship.
- Confidentiality- Tell the patient precisely what you will and will not do with their private information. Doing this helps build trust.
- Court Information- Let the patient know that you cannot testify in court, or if you can, under what circumstances.
- Length of Sessions- Include basic data about the duration of each session and, if it’s relevant, how long their expected course of therapy will last.
- Risks- Inform the patient of the risks that come with this type of therapy.
- Benefits- Explain the intended outcome and how it may benefit them.
- Point of Contact- Include contact information so the patient can ask questions about the therapy consent form, its contents, or any additional concerns.
- Statements of Assent- These statements show that the patient understands what they’ve read and agrees to abide by the terms outlined in this document and that they are voluntarily consenting to undergo treatment.
- Age Indication- Leave space for the patient to indicate their date of birth or whether they are under/over 18. Either format is acceptable.
- Patient Name- List the patent’s full legal name.
- Patient Signature and Date Lines- The patient signs or e-signs and dates the form here. Signatures are what turn this piece of paper into a legally binding document.
- (Include Where Applicable) Parent/Guardian Name- If the patient is underage, list the parent/guardian(s) full legal name(s).
- (Include Where Applicable) Parent/Guardian Contact Information- Parental contact information, such as name, address, phone number, and email, goes here.
- (Include Where Applicable) Parent/Guardian Consent Statement- This statement shows that the parent understands what they are consenting to allow their child to undergo therapy and the limitations of what you can share with them due to patient confidentiality.
- (Include Where Applicable) Parent/Guardian Signature and Date Lines- Parents/guardians sign or e-sign and date here.
- Therapist Consent Statement- Your consent statement shows that you agree to treat the patient and have given them the appropriate information.
- Therapist Full Name and Title- List your title and name.
- Therapist Signature and Date Lines- Sign and date the form.
- (Include Where Applicable) Translator or Reader Statement- If the patient needs a translator or reader due to language barriers, blindness, or other concerns, the reader or translator must attest that they have faithfully and accurately shared the information on this document.
- (Include Where Applicable) Translator or Reader Full Name- Have them print their full legal name on this line.
- (Include Where Applicable) Translator or Reader Signature and Date Lines- Readers or Translators sign here.
How to Improve Your Therapy Consent Form
Here are a few additional tips to help you make the most of your therapy consent forms. Feel free to bookmark this page for reference when creating your document.
- Patient Rights and Responsibilities- Although this is partially covered, use a separate section to explain their part in the therapeutic process and their rights.
- Comfort Information- If appropriate or warranted, recommend comfortable clothing for your sessions.
- How to Make Appointments- Consider including a section on how to make appointments. Doing this makes it easier for some patients to keep up with their schedules. Include info nation on how and when to cancel an appointment.
- Templates- Use a professionally designed therapy consent template to make your form quick, easy, and complete.
- Accessibility of Additional Appointments As Needed- Do you offer add-on time or extra appointments for people at or near crisis levels? If so, let them know how that works and when it’s available.
- Accommodations and Accessibility for Disabled Persons- In addition to basic accessibility like ramps, some therapists opt to include more accommodations, such as allowing focus music, comfort items, or different lighting options.
- Remuneration- Explain your fee schedule and any additional costs associated with the treatment.
- Language- Always double-check spelling and grammar. Additionally, remember that most adults’ average reading level is around eighth grade. Your clientele may not understand complex or industry-specific terminology, so either define it or explain things simply to ensure they understand you.
Since creating a therapy consent form is so extensive, we’ve included some additional information to help you with the process. Here you’ll find answers to the two most frequently asked questions adjacent to this topic.
The purpose of a consent form in therapy is to help create a safe, trusting environment for the client. The document allows the client to share information about any topics or concerns they might have before entering into therapy. The consent form also establishes boundaries between therapist and client and informs the client of their rights. It outlines the risks, benefits, and expectations associated with participating in therapy and any outside referrals or resources that may need to be utilized. Finally, it protects the therapist and client from any potential harm or dispute by providing clear documentation of what was discussed and agreed upon.
Informed consent is vital in providing quality care to clients in the therapeutic setting. The 5 essential components of informed consent are as follows.
ᐅ Diagnosis: The first component of informed consent is informing the patient about their diagnosis, what it means, and the expected outcomes with treatment.
ᐅ Proposed Treatment: The patient should be aware of the proposed treatment plan and its potential positive and negative effects.
ᐅ Risks and Benefits: A clear statement of the potential positive and negative outcomes.
ᐅ Alternatives to Treatment: This component outlines other possible treatments that may be available to help meet the patient’s goals, along with their risks and rewards.
ᐅ Refusing Treatment: Explain the risks and benefits of refusing therapy.
A therapy consent form is written authorization from the patient that gives a healthcare provider permission to provide therapy. This form also outlines the patient’s rights concerning the treatment and the risks associated with therapy. Use the tips and information here to ensure your form covers all the requisite elements in a manner that helps your patients come to an informed decision. Additionally, our professionally designed therapy consent form template helps you reduce wasted time while creating a high-quality custom document with all the essential information included.