Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice

Skip to Search

Skip to Navigation

Volume 82 Issue 4 (December 2009), Pages 355-466

Clinical psychology service users' experiences of confidentiality and informed consent: A qualitative analysis (pages 355-368)

Objectives. To explore and describe the experience of clinical psychology service users in relation to the processes associated with confidentiality and the generation of informed consent in individual therapy.

Design. A qualitative interview‐based study employing interpretative phenomenological analysis was conducted with service users. User researchers were active collaborators in the study.

Methods. A focus group of four users was convened to explore issues related to confidentiality and consent, which then informed the development of the semi‐structured interview schedule. Twelve users of community mental health clinical psychology services were interviewed by user researchers. A user researcher and a clinical psychologist undertook joint analysis of the data. A second clinical psychologist facilitated reflexivity and wider consideration of validity issues.

Results. Four main themes were identified from the data: being referred; the participant's feelings, mental health difficulties, and their impact; relationships with workers and carers; and autonomy.

Conclusions. The meaningfulness of processes of discussing confidentiality, and generating informed consent, can be improved by psychologists placing a greater emphasis on choice, control, autonomy, individual preferences, and actively involving the user in dialogue on repeated occasions.

Add This link

Bookmark and Share>