Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Informed Consent and Videotaping of Sessions

Practicum or Internship Candidate Disclosure and Informed Consent IssuesPer the ACA Code of Ethics, “F.6.h. Professional Disclosure: Before initiating counseling services, counselors-in-training disclose their status as students and explain how this status affects the limits of confidentiality. Counselor educators ensure that the clients at field placements are aware of the services rendered and the qualifications of the students and supervisees rendering those services. Students and supervisees obtain client permission before they use any information concerning the counseling relationship in the training process” (2014, p. 14).

With regard to informed consent, the ACA Code of Ethics (2014) states, “A.2.a. Informed Consent: Clients have the freedom to choose whether to enter into or remain in a counseling relationship and need adequate information about the counseling process and the counselor. Counselors have an obligation to review in writing and verbally with clients the rights and responsibilities of both the counselor and the client. Informed consent is an ongoing part of the counseling process, and counselors appropriately document discussions of informed consent throughout the counseling relationship” (p. 4).

“A.2.b. Types of Information Needed: Counselors explicitly explain to clients the nature of all services provided. They inform clients about issues such as, but not limited to, the following: the purposes, goals, techniques, procedures, limitations, potential risks, and benefits of services; the counselor’s qualifications, credentials, and relevant experience; continuation of services upon the incapacitation or death of a counselor; and other pertinent information. Counselors take steps to ensure that clients understand the implications of diagnosis, the intended use of tests and reports, fees, and billing arrangements. Clients have the right to confidentiality and to be provided with an explanation of its limitations (including how supervisors and/or treatment team professionals are involved); to obtain clear information about their records; to participate in the ongoing counseling plans; and to refuse any services or modality change and to be advised of the consequences of such refusal” (p. 4).

Therefore, per the Counseling Practicum or Internship Supervision Contracts, site supervisors must assist counseling practicum and internship candidates in properly informing all clients of the student’s status as a graduate counselor-in-training. It is the responsibility of all three parties (i.e., the student, site supervisor, and university supervisor) represented in Practicum or Internship Supervision Contracts to ensure proper compliance with the aforementioned sections of the ACA Code of Ethics for client awareness and welfare.

Videotaping Requirements for Supervision: All sessions performed for the purposes of individual or group supervision by the university supervisor for practicum or internship courses must be recorded via videotape. Audiotaping of sessions is not acceptable for practicum or internship courses. Prior to presenting any videotapes of counseling sessions, students must provide a signed “Consent for Videotaping of Counseling Session” form. If the client is a minor, or is otherwise unable to grant consent for videotaping, his or her parent or legal guardian must sign the consent form on his or her behalf. Furthermore, students are required to have digital versions of such recordings and, therefore, have the following playback options: (a) finalized, multiplaform DVD recording or (b) a camera that may be connected directly to a television via composite (red-white-yellow; “RCA”) or high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) wire connections.