A foundational element of effective, ethical, and legal counseling services is the use of a therapeutic contract. Similar to other forms of contracts, the therapeutic contract is a formal agreement between two parties. If you are a counselor in private practice, for example, your clients contract services with your practice. Within the contract, clear responsibilities, roles, and expectations are outlined for both the client and the counselor. In contemporary counseling practice, ethical and legal challenges are inevitable. The therapeutic contract in counseling evolved out of a desire to minimize those challenges and provide a transparent and well-documented process for all parties involved.

In addition to mitigating potential legal and ethical concerns, the therapeutic contract puts into practice the ethical concepts of beneficence and autonomy that serve ...

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