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Informed Consent to Psychoanalysis:

The Law, the Theory, and the Data

Elyn R. Saks

Publication Year: 2013

The goal of this book is to shed psychoanalytic light on a concept--informed consent-- that has transformed the delivery of health care in the United States. Examining the concept of informed consent in the context of psychoanalysis, the book first summarizes the law and literature on this topic. Is informed consent required as a matter of positive law? Apart from statutes and cases, what do the professional organizations say about this? Second, the book looks at informed consent as a theoretical matter. It addresses such questions as: What would be the elements of a robust informed consent in psychoanalysis? Is informed consent even possible here? Can patients really understand, say, transference or regression before they experience them, and is it too late once they have? Is informed consent therapeutic or countertherapeutic? Can a "process view" of informed consent make sense here? Third, the book reviews data on the topic. A lengthy questionnaire answered by sixty-two analysts reveals their practices in this regard. Do they obtain a statement of informed consent from their patients? What do they disclose? Why do they disclose it? Do they think it is possible to obtain informed consent in psychoanalysis at all? Do they think the practice is therapeutic or countertherapeutic, and in what ways? Do they think there should or should not be an informed consent requirement for psychoanalysis? The book should appeal above all to therapists interested in the ethical dimensions of their practice.

Published by: Fordham University Press

Series: Psychoanalytic Interventions

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 1-6


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pp. 7-8

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p. ix-ix

The authors wish to acknowledge the assistance of several people who read and commented on earlier drafts of this book: Scott Altman, Helen Desmond, Esther Fine, Linda Goodman, ...

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pp. 1-4

Psychoanalysts have been up in arms about certain legal intrusions into the analytic space. For instance, inroads on confidentiality have been a great concern (see, for example, Bollas and Sundelson, 1995); indeed, the American Psychoanalytic Association ...

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1. Law and Literature on Informed Consent

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pp. 5-23

Is there a legal requirement to obtain informed consent? Reviewing relevant cases and statutes bearing on informed consent to psychotherapy should help us gauge that. Naturally, there is less urgency for mental health professionals sorting through what to disclose ...

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2. Analysis of the Concept of Informed Consent: The Theory

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pp. 24-50

This chapter, in essence, is an exploration of the concept of informed consent. What are the values behind it? Is it possible? Is it desirable? The first section presents background material on an informed consent requirement: the values behind an...

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3. Empirical Study: Methods and Results

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pp. 51-64

The empirical part of this project surveys a significant number of analysts throughout the country. We discuss first the development of our survey instrument. We then discuss our most general hypotheses and explain how our subjects were randomly selected. ...

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4. Empirical Study: Discussion

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pp. 65-79

In this chapter, we discuss some of the more interesting and important aspects of our findings in both the descriptive and inferential data sections. Our most basic hypothesis was that the results would show considerable variability. We so hypothesized because ...

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5. Limitations of Our Study and Directions for Future Research

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pp. 80-85

In this chapter, we address some important limitations of our study, suggest future studies that might address those limitations, and offer other suggestions for future research.
First, and perhaps most important, analysts may have different conceptions of informed consent when they answer questions such as whether ...

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Afterword: Our Own View

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pp. 86-90

While our aim in this book is to explore informed consent in the psychoanalytic context and not to advocate for a particular view, it would perhaps make sense for us to lay out, in a preliminary way, our current thinking on the ....

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pp. 91-92

In this book, we reviewed the law and literature on informed consent to psychotherapy. In terms of case law, there is actually only one reported case that speaks of an adult’s informed consent to therapy in general. There ...


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pp. 93-117


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pp. 119-123


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pp. 125-127

E-ISBN-13: 9780823250509
Print-ISBN-13: 9780823249763
Print-ISBN-10: 082324976X

Page Count: 144
Publication Year: 2013

Edition: Text
Series Title: Psychoanalytic Interventions