Why Is the Initial Consultation so Important? What Factors Will an Ethical Therapist Cover at This Time?

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During this essay I will be discussing ethics and what ethical issues the therapist faces in relation to initial consultation with the client. What an initial consultation is and why it is so important that one is completed without exception. I will also explore what the process is, what happens at the initial consultation, and how the therapist will gather the required information. I also aim to explore what benefits and contra indications there are for having an initial consultation. According to a thesaurus the word “Ethics” means: a moral- code, values, principles and beliefs. This definition leads to the question, what is meant by the phrase, “Ethical therapist”? An ethical therapist within the UK works within the Code of Ethics which was developed from the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy Code of Ethics April 2002. This constitutes of a moral code of principles and values which should always be adhered to whenever the therapist is practising. The Code of Ethics covers for example:

1. Providing a good standard of care, safeguarding both the therapist and client. 2. Only treating clients within your own qualifications
3. The therapist must attend regular supervision
4. Ensure your client understands the boundaries and limits. 5. Manage the clients’ expectations
6. Conflicts of interest
7. Gaining and keeping trust
8. Ensure that the therapy is “Client centred”
The above points are a brief precis of what the Code of Ethics covers, and are an integral part of the therapists working practice. The therapist must remain professional at all times both in appearance and manner. It is also important to consider the layout of the consulting room to ensure safety for both the client and the therapist. The initial consultation will be the first time the client and therapist meet and first impressions are important to the client and will count. The therapist will have assumptions made about them within the first minutes of meeting. These assumptions will come from the way the client is greeted, the therapist’s pattern and manner of speech and their body language; these assumptions are pivotal to building rapport. A major objective of the initial consultation is for the therapist to assess if this type of therapy is suitable for the client, and whether or not both client and therapist feel comfortable working with each other while beginning to build a working professional rapport. It is important for the therapist to gather detailed information about the client before embarking on therapy of any kind. As well as taking and recording obvious personal details, name address etc, it is important to probe to discover details about the client’s life, ie hobbies, work, family situation, the client’s GP details and medical history. This is a major factor in the assessment from an ethical point of view, as this alone can determine whether hypnotherapy is suitable for the client. If the client demonstrates reluctance to divulge medical information and/or GP details then it is advisable to ask them to get a letter from their GP stating that hypnotherapy will be suitable. Hypnotherapists treat neurosis not psychosis so it would not be ethical to treat the client with a psychosis. Neurosis is a term used to describe various psychological disorders such as: • Anxiety Disorders – This is an overreaction to normal tolerated stresses • Panic Disorders – Regular panic attacks where the client has no causing heart conditions. • Phobias – A fear that affects the clients’ life

• Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) – The client has unwelcoming or intrusive thoughts or behaviours that they have to carry out • Separation Anxiety – An irrational feeling of separation from parents by the child • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – Symptoms following a disaster • Psychosomatic Disorders – Symptoms of emotions or subconscious cognitions being released, sometimes with increased stress levels •...
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