Informed Consent for Group Therapy

Group Process

Group therapy is a unique and powerful experience where a group of people who are likely experiencing similar challenges in their lives gets together to share their difficulties which as a result give and at the same time, receive help from each other. It is the desire of your group therapist that you reap all the benefits group has to offer. To help this occur, groups are structured to include the following elements: 

 

  1. A safe environment in which you are able to feel respected and valued as you work

  2. An understanding of group goals, guidelines, and norms

  3. An investment by both your therapist and members to produce a positive group experience. 

 

Please note the following:

  • My participation in group is voluntary and may be ended by me at any time and for any reason. 

  • There may be benefits to participation in group therapy such as improvements in mood, relationships, self-awareness, coping skills, problem- solving, self-expression, experience of pain, meaningful engagement and overall emotional well-being. 

  • There are risks to participation in group therapy such as potential for experiencing uncomfortable feelings, emotions or memories; having less effect than expected from therapy, or experiencing discomfort from the process or results of change during therapy. 

 

A Safe Environment

A safe environment is created and maintained by both the therapist of the group and its members. Mutual respect and a chance to create trust are primary goals of the group process. Providing a safe environment is based on confidentiality. Your group therapist is bound by law to maintain confidentiality, as group members are bound by honor to keep what is said in the group in the group. We realize that you may want to share about your experiences in group. This is fine as long as you remember not to talk about how events unfold in the group or in any other way compromise the confidentiality of other group members. Your group therapist will monitor discussions and maintain a respectful environment to keep safety and trust a priority. 

 

If there is ever a time when you believe that you have been treated unfairly or disrespectfully, please talk with Ashton Sullivan at 843-732-0850. It is never any intention to cause this to happen, but occasionally misunderstandings result in hurt feelings. We want to address any issues that may get in the way of therapy as soon as possible. 

 

Confidentiality

  • Ordinarily, all communications and records created in the process of counseling are held in the strictest confidence. You should know that there are certain situations in which I am required by law to reveal information obtained during therapy to other persons or agencies without your permission. Also, I am not required to inform you of my actions in this regard. These situations are as follows: 

  1. If you threaten or attempt to commit suicide or otherwise conducts yourself in a manner in which there is a substantial risk of incurring serious bodily harm.

  2. If you threaten grave bodily harm or death to another person.

  3. If the therapist has a reasonable suspicion that you or other named victim is the perpetrator, observer of, or actual victim of physical, emotional or sexual abuse of children under the age of 18 years.

  4. Suspicions as stated above in the case of an elderly person who may be subjected to these abuses.

  5. Suspected neglect of the parties named in items #3 and # 4.

  6. If a court of law issues a legitimate subpoena for information stated on the subpoena.

  7. If you are being treated by order of a court of law, or if information is obtained for the purpose of rendering an expert’s report to an attorney.

  8. Additional, rare instances where disclosure is allowed or required by law.

  9. Occasionally I may need to consult with other professionals in their areas of expertise in order to provide the best treatment for you. Information about you may be shared in this context without using your name.

  10. If we see each other accidentally outside of the therapy office, I will not acknowledge you first. Your right to privacy and confidentiality is of the utmost importance to me, and I do not wish to jeopardize your privacy. However, if you acknowledge me first, I will be more than happy to speak briefly with you, but feel it appropriate not to engage in any lengthy discussions in public or outside of the therapy office. 

  • There may be a time when group members may cross paths of other group members. Please try to keep interaction to a minimum unless desired by both parties. Be respectful to not reveal anything related to group outside of group. 

 

Security

There is a security camera installed in the building at Coastal Art Supply.  Although there is no audio recording, there is ongoing video recording by the owners of Coastal Art Supply to keep their store secure.  Please speak with Ashton if you have any concerns about this.

Coastal Art Supply is closed on Mondays, allowing us to use their space without interruptions by potential store customers.  There are windows at Coastal Art Supply, but curtains may be drawn by request.  Please let me know if you would like me to close the curtains during your group experience.  Confidentiality takes precedence over the desire for natural lighting.

Limitations on Storage of Artwork

Since I am renting the space at Coastal Art Supply only one day per week, I cannot guarantee that your artwork can be stored securely or confidentially (although I will do my best to make accommodations).  If you need to leave your artwork to dry or continue working on, please talk to me to make arrangements.

 

Records

do not keep electronic health records for each person who attends group.  I only record of who was in attendance and what the directives were for each session.

 

Availability of Services and Safety

This practice does not have the capability of providing emergency services or responding immediately to emergencies. Emergencies should be directed as appropriate to the respective need. For life threatening emergencies call 911. For mental health emergencies you may contact SC Mobile Crisis at (833)364-2274. I commit to you to being able to respond back to you as quickly as possible. There may be times that I am not able to respond back to you for a couple of days. 

Fees

Group sessions are $45 per person which includes all materials and supplies.  First Responders (active or retired) who are not current clients may attend on a "pay-what you can" basis. 

Cancellation Policy

Please note that once you have booked a session, group services are non-refundable and non-negotiable.  If there is someone who can fill your spot then you may receive a credit to use toward another group.  You may also join in via Zoom if you are not feeling well, have been exposed to COVID, or otherwise unable to make it to group.  Please notify Ashton so that arrangements can be made accordingly.

 

Pet Policy

I generally do not provide letters for Emotional Support Animals.  

My dog accompanies me on most days.  If you have any concerns with this, please discuss this with me so accommodations can be arranged if possible.  I generally do not allow clients to bring their pets, with the exception of service animals.