Stephen Hjelt


This article explores the development of the doctrine of informed consent, first in medicine and then in the mental health field. It also explores the history of psychotherapy as the primary method of treatment for mental illness and emotional distress. It then analyzes the reasons for the proliferation of new and emerging psychotherapy techniques, even as the doctrine of informed consent became commonplace. This article next proposes a two-fold solution. The first is a newly energized conception of informed consent in the mental health field. The second is the implementation of a regulatory mechanism akin to the Food and Drug Administration that will allow the use of psychotherapy techniques only after demonstration that the technique is safe and effective.