Whether you are at home or in hospital, if you are an adult (aged 18 or over) and have the mental capacity needed to give consent to Art Therapy, you are generally entitled to refuse it and no undue pressure should be placed on you. Consent must be given voluntarily and not under any form of duress or undue influence from health professionals, family or friends.
You should be given all the information you need to enable you to make a decision about giving consent to Art Therapy. This includes what the Art Therapy is, what Art Therapy will achieve, any likely side effects, what will happen if Art Therapy is not given and what alternatives there are. Guidance issued to Art Therapists says they should encourage you to ask questions and they should answer these fully. After receiving information on Art Therapy, you can weigh up the pros and cons in order to arrive at a decision to accept Art Therapy or not. You must be able to communicate your decision.
I must ask the person who wants to take up Art Therapy. Not through someone else, so not to put pressure on that person.
Art Therapy consent is a continuing process rather than a one-off decision. It is important that the service user be given continuing opportunities to ask further questions and to review the decision. Service users can change their minds and withdraw consent at any time.
Consent for Art Therapy can be written, oral or non-verbal. A signature on a consent form does not itself prove the consent is valid – the point of the form is to record the service user’s decision and the discussions that have taken place.
I always go on the presumption that all adults have the capacity to make decisions on their own behalf. Like adults, young people (aged 16 or 17) are presumed to have sufficient capacity to decide on Art Therapy, unless there’s significant evidence to suggest otherwise.
People aged 16 or over are entitled to consent to their own treatment, and this can only be overruled in exceptional circumstances.
Children under the age of 16 can consent to their own treatment if they’re believed to have enough intelligence, competence and understanding to fully appreciate what’s involved in Art Therapy. Where a child (under 16 years old) lacks capacity to make a decision, someone with parental authority can consent to Art Therapy on their behalf.
Someone with “parental responsibility” can consent for them. This could be:
- the child’s mother or father
- the child’s legally appointed guardian
- a person with a residence order concerning the child
- a local authority designated to care for the child
- a local authority or person with an emergency protection order for the child
If the person lacks capacity to consent to Art Therapy, the decision can be put off until such time as the person regains capacity.
e.g. the service user may have a permanent or temporary impairment or disturbance of the mind or brain
Can the person understand the information necessary to make the decision?
When making a ‘best interests‘ decision, I should:
- encourage the person to take part as far as possible
- identify what the person would have taken into account if they were making the decision
- find out the person’s prior views, wishes and beliefs
- consult others, where appropriate about the person’s views, wishes and beliefs
- make an objective assessment of what would be in their ‘best interests’.
Taking up Art Therapy is ALWAYS YOUR CHOICE
I ALWAYS REQUIRE YOUR CONSENT BEFORE ART THERAPY STARTS
I ALWAYS REQUIRE YOUR G.P.CONTACT BEFORE OFFERING ART THERAPY. (CONSENT FROM YOURSELF/CARER REQUIRED)