Sunday, 15 March 2015

Counselling Contracts: What to Factor In

The right counselling contract can protect you from getting sued by patients. Here are a few things to remember when drawing one up.

Sensitivity to the patient’s personal background

Anything that is not understood counts for nothing. The patient is only truly informed if he or she understood what was told. In other words, couch your explanation in terms the patient can understand or relate to. Refrain from jargon and abbreviations. When language is an issue, a counsellor may hire a qualified translator or interpreter. One should also consider cultural barriers and adjust where appropriate.

Refusal to consent

In the event that the client rejects the treatment, counselors must also discuss the possible consequences of refusing counseling services. Put an emphasis on the progress of the disorder or other potential effects on the client’s current mental condition. The counsellor must also properly document this exchange and have the patient sign a form that states the risks were explained.

Keep it simple

The recommended reading level is 6th grade at max. Sentences and paragraphs must be kept short. Use simpler terms and concepts, and explain all technical aspects in a way that’s easily understandable by non-practitioners. Most importantly, the information must be complete and logically discussed. As for the physical aspects, the layout must be neat and clear, with white-space borders and simple fonts.

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