Yesterday we discussed the topic of informed consent, including a FREE Law and Ethics practice question to help you get prepared for your MFT or LCSW Law and Ethics exam. Let us take a look at the answer and the rationale:
A married couple who recently immigrated from Argentina bring their 15-year-old daughter to see a counselor at a community clinic. Neither of the parents speak English; however, their daughter feels very comfortable communicating in both Spanish and English. What are the therapist’s responsibilities at the onset of treatment?
A. Obtain informed consent from the daughter since she is old enough to consent on her own
B. Take additional steps to ensure parents’ comprehension of the informed consent contract
C. Document in the record the fact that parents do not speak English
D. Allow the family to take the informed consent papers home so they can take their time in translating and filling out necessary paperwork
The correct answer is B
- Answer A can easily be knocked out. Only having the daughter consent for treatment would disregard the role of her parents. They are clearly involved and it is always best practice to include parents in the treatment of a minor whenever possible. Disregarding them is both culturally and clinically insensitive. Plus, we would only exclude the parents from the informed consent process with good cause.
- Answer C is tempting, especially during a law and ethics exam. It is correct to document the fact that both parents do not speak English and we will do so, but that would not be the first or most important thing we do. Initially we must address the issue of informed consent since we are required to obtain it before proceeding with treatment.
- Answer D is incorrect because it puts the burden of having to translate the documents on the client. It is best practice to send clients home with a copy of informed consent, but only after they have understood and consented to it.
- Answer B is the strongest answer choice since ethically, it is the therapist’s responsibility to provide informed consent in the language the client can understand. Thus, it is up to the therapist to either provide clients with paperwork in Spanish or to secure a professional interpreter.
Which answer did you choose? Does the rationale fit with your understanding of the topic and how you would apply it in a clinical setting? Or did you learn something new with this scenario? If you have any further questions feel free to check in with a TDC coach. We are here to support you all along the way. And if you came up with the same answer-great job! You are on the right track to getting licensed.
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I ALSO FELT B WAS THE RIGHT ANSWER BECAUSE THE DAUGHTER COULD INTERPRET FOR THE PARENTS. I AM BILINGUAL AS WELL.
This is tricky for me because I am not sure what age the informed consent is legally as it differs in each state.
I agree with Megan, very tricky question. I actually chose A, as a few questions have stated that a client that is 13 years old may consent to treatment!