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Doctoral Dissertation Announcement
Candidate: Scott E. Kerby
Doctor of Philosophy
Department: Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology
Title: Informed Consent as a Predictor of Working Alliance and Perception of Counselor/Psychotherapist
Dr. Patrick Munley, Chair
Dr. Alan Hovestadt
Dr. C. Dennis Simpson
Date: Tuesday, July 7, 2009 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
3208 Sangren Hall, Merze Tate Conference Room
Client informed consent is an important component and ethical dimension of counseling and psychotherapy required by each of the mental health professions. The purpose of this study is to examine the extent to which informed consent in counseling/psychotherapy may relate to client perceptions of the working alliance, measured by the Working Alliance Inventory – Short Version (WAI-S) (Tracey and Kokotovic, 1989), and client’s general opinion of the counselor/psychotherapist, measured by the short form of Counselor Rating Form (CRF-S) (Corrigan and Schmidt, 1983). In particular, the study investigates (1) how discussion and understanding of informed consent relates to client perceptions of the working alliance, and (2) how discussion and understanding of informed consent relates to client general opinion of the counselor/psycho-therapist.
One-hundred sixty clients receiving counseling/psychotherapy at a Community Mental Health Authority (CMHA) in a rural Midwest county who have completed a minimum of three counseling/psychotherapy sessions serve as participants. Participants complete a demographic form, an Informed Consent Survey (ICI); the Behavioral and Symptom Identification Scale (Eisen, Dill & Grob, 1994); the WAI-S; and the CRF-S. On the ICI, clients rate the amount of discussion they have with their counselor/psychotherapist and how well they understand items pertaining to six areas of informed consent. ICI surveys are scored for amount of discussion and understanding across six informed consent areas.
Hierarchical multiple regression analyses are performed to investigate the relationships between ICI Discussion and ICI Understanding and working alliance measured by the WAI-S and client general opinion of the counselor/psychotherapist measured by the CRF-S. In the regression analyses age, gender, number of counseling/psychotherapy sessions, social class, and functionality and severity of psychopathology are entered first in the model, followed alternatively by ICI discussion, ICI understanding and then ICI Discussion and ICI Understanding together. When entered individually in the regression model ICI Discussion and ICI Understanding each make a unique significant contribution to predicting WAI-S and CRF-S. When entered together ICI Understanding emerges as the significant unique predictor.
Results highlight the possible relationship of informed consent to client perception of the counselor/psychotherapist and the working alliance. Findings are discussed and suggestions made for future research.