Informed Consent The counseling relationship is subject to ethical rules and legal regulations.  These are laid out in a document that all clients receive on or before their first meeting with their counselor.  This document is called “Informed Consent.” In addition to the rights and responsibilities of the counselor outlined in the informed consent, this document also outlines the tasks of the client.  This relationship is different in some ways from the one that typically holds for the relationship with your doctor.  It is a more “equal” relationship and relies heavily on your commitment to work with your counselor in the emotional healing and psychological growing process that is characteristic of counseling.  Information shared between your counselor and yourself is confidential.  This means that the nature of the therapeutic meetings is not shared with others by your counselor without your express permission.  (Of course you are not bound by confidentiality — only your counselor is bound by it — and you are free to discuss, or not discuss, your sessions with anyone.)  Exceptions to this rule are clearly explained in the informed consent document.     
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In 2010, the American Counseling Association defined counseling as: “a professional relationship that empowers diverse individuals, families and groups to accomplish mental health, wellness, education and career goals.”
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