What are the possible benefits, disadvantages and risks of taking part?
The survey will involve answering questions about your experience of psychological therapy, whether as a professional or for personal reasons. This may lead to feelings of discomfort or distress, particularly if you had a negative experience. Even if you’ve have had a positive experience, it is possible that thinking about negative effects of therapy may lead you to view your experience differently. This could lead to feelings of doubt. We would encourage everyone who has concerns about past, or current treatment to discuss these with your family doctor. Also, we urge anyone with serious concerns about the professionalism of their therapist to report these to the relevant authority (see here for details on how to report concerns, on the wonderful supportingsafetherapy.org website). It is possible that professionals may experience discomfort reflecting on adverse effects experienced by their clients, and we recommend that this is addressed in supervision.
We hope that this study will lead to an outcome measure of adverse effects that can be used to find out more about the impact of psychological therapy and help people make informed choices about the best options for themselves. We expect that taking part in this study, sharing your experiences and seeing the responses of other participants may validate your experience. We also hope that by giving all involved an equal voice you will recognise that your opinion is important in shaping future research.
Will my taking part in this study be kept confidential?
All information that is collected about you during the course of the research will be kept strictly confidential unless you disclose information to the researcher around emotional, physical or sexual abuse; or if you disclose intent to cause physical harm towards self or others, or you disclose illegal activities witnessed or experienced. If information of this kind is disclosed alongside identifiable information, the researcher has a duty of care to report this to the relevant authorities.
We will not collect your name or any other details, however we will ask for a contact email address. This email address will not be linked to any of your responses, and we ask that you do not identify yourself in your answers. The responses you give will be combined with all the responses from people in your group and we will be unable to link responses with individuals. For this reason it will not be possible to withdraw your responses once entered and all data submitted via the survey will be included in the analysis. You may exit the survey at any point should you no longer wish to take part. Some of your answers might be used as examples in reports, but we will have no way to identify who gave the response, however we will distinguish between an ‘expert by experience’ or ‘a professional’.
If you include any identifying details we will remove these as soon as we download your answers from the survey website, however if you include identifiable information that causes serious concern (such as allegations about professional misconduct) we will be required to report this to the relevant authority, or indeed, the police. We would prefer that you do not include such information in this survey and instead report any concerns you have directly to the relevant authority. We are unable to discuss experiences of therapy directly with current or potential participants.
Please bear in mind that you are free to withdraw from the study at any point. Remember though, any data you submit cannot be withdrawn afterwards. This is because we have no way of matching you to the data.