Must-Have Legal Documents for Counselors

By Mark Westin posted 10-07-2020 10:24 PM


Counseling is one of the lesser-known career paths that is slowly gaining traction. As the number of people with mental conditions continues to increase, counseling has become as stable as any other job. An estimated one in four adults in Britain experience mental disorders, such as anxiety or depression every year. However, there are only about 38,000 therapists in the U.K. Like all professions, there are minimum requirements, rules, and guidelines to follow. If you are considering a career in counseling, here are some must-have legal documents.

Consent to Treatment

You cannot start treating a patient unless they give you express permission to do so. According to the National Health Service (NHS), anyone who is 16 and above is deemed capable of deciding to give their consent. Verbal consent is not easy to prove; it is best to have patient signs that you have irrefutable proof. This legal document outlines the procedure and what to expect. A proper consent form should cover all bases. Fortunately, Net Lawman has a legal team that reviews all agreement templates to avoid costly errors.

Confidentiality Agreement

For therapy to work, the patient must be willing to disclose personal issues. As such, counselors have a responsibility to protect the privacy of their patients. This law is guaranteed under the data protection act. Your patients will feel more relaxed, knowing their privacy is protected. Such a form should assure them of their safety and outline exceptions. For minors, parents and legal guardians can give consent.

Medical History Forms

You must understand your patient before you begin treatment. A medical history form allows the patient to disclose any existing conditions they may have. This form should ask if the patient has gone through therapy before and their expectations. The information helps you to determine the best course of action and what to avoid. A medical history form also gives clients who struggle to talk about their situation a chance to write it down. It ultimately speeds things along.

Credit Card Authorization

Counseling is a service, and the patient must pay at the end. Whatever your billing system, you need a way to charge your client at the end of the session. Credit cards are the most widely used form of payment. You can ask your client to fill out a form with their credit card information and sign to avoid disputes. You also provide payment receipts after every payment for additional cover.

Termination Letter

The end goal of counseling is to help the patient with their problems. Consequently, you will have to stop treatment at some point. The ideal reason for this is when the patient improves. However, sometimes a counselor is forced to terminate treatment midway for different reasons. It could be due to a conflict of interest or referral to a better specialist. A termination letter communicates this to the patient. It indicates when treatment began, when it ended, reasons for termination, diagnosis, and any recommendations for further assistance.

Final Thoughts

You don't have to struggle with formatting all these legal documents. Running your practice is challenging enough. Trying to go it alone can lead to mistakes. A wrong wording could potentially expose you to costly lawsuits. This task is better left for someone knowledgeable in legal matters. They will free you, and let you focus on the core of your business.