Optimized Informed Consent for Psychotherapy: Protocol for a Randomized Controlled Trial

Optimized Informed Consent for Psychotherapy: Protocol for a Randomized Controlled Trial
Leonie Gerke, Sönke Ladwig, Franz Pauls, Manuel Trachsel, Martin Härter, Yvonne Nestoriuc
JMIR Research Protocols, 30 September 2022; 11(9)
Informed consent is a legal and ethical prerequisite for psychotherapy. However, in clinical practice, consistent strategies to obtain informed consent are scarce. Inconsistencies exist regarding the overall validity of informed consent for psychotherapy as well as the disclosure of potential mechanisms and negative effects, the latter posing a moral dilemma between patient autonomy and nonmaleficence.
This protocol describes a randomized controlled web-based trial aiming to investigate the efficacy of a one-session optimized informed consent consultation.
The optimized informed consent consultation was developed to provide information on the setting, efficacy, mechanisms, and negative effects via expectation management and shared decision-making techniques. A total of 122 participants with an indication for psychotherapy will be recruited. Participants will take part in a baseline assessment, including a structured clinical interview for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-fifth edition (DSM-5) disorders. Eligible participants will be randomly assigned either to a control group receiving an information brochure about psychotherapy as treatment as usual (n=61) or to an intervention group receiving treatment as usual and the optimized informed consent consultation (n=61). Potential treatment effects will be measured after the treatment via interview and patient self-report and at 2 weeks and 3 months follow-up via web-based questionnaires. Treatment expectation is the primary outcome. Secondary outcomes include the capacity to consent, decisional conflict, autonomous treatment motivation, adherence intention, and side-effect expectations.
This trial received a positive ethics vote by the local ethics committee of the Center for Psychosocial Medicine, University-Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany on April 1, 2021, and was prospectively registered on June 17, 2021. The first participant was enrolled in the study on August 5, 2021. We expect to complete data collection in December 2022. After data analysis within the first quarter of 2023, the results will be submitted for publication in peer-reviewed journals in summer 2023.
If effective, the optimized informed consent consultation might not only constitute an innovative clinical tool to meet the ethical and legal obligations of informed consent but also strengthen the contributing factors of psychotherapy outcome, while minimizing nocebo effects and fostering shared decision-making.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s