Limitations of Our Study and Directions
for Future Research
In this chapter, we address some important limitations of our study, suggest future studies that might address those limitations, and offer other suggestions for future research.
First, and perhaps most important, analysts may have different conceptions of informed consent when they answer questions such as whether they provide an informed consent to their patients. The first question of our survey asks, “Do you give an informed consent to your patients?” noting that “By ‘informed consent’ we mean a disclosure, roughly, of the nature of analysis, its risks and benefits, and alternatives.” So, although the essential elements of informed consent are given—that is, nature of the process, risks and benefits, alternatives, and risks and benefits of alternatives—analysts may include a greater or fewer number of items under each element when they answer questions such as the Rates questions (such as how often one gives an informed consent, and how often one thinks it should be given). For example, one analyst may say he doesn’t give an informed consent because he doesn’t list all possible relevant risks, and another may say he does even if he discloses only, say, the most benign items listed as risks. Also, while no mention is made about whether the informed consent should be in writing, some analysts may say they don’t give an informed consent, even if they provide a large quantity of the relevant information, because they don’t use a form. That is, they have a fantasy that “if it is not in writing, it is not informed consent.” Other analysts identify what we call the “process view” of informed consent as just the process of analysis itself, and therefore they answer “no” to the question of whether they give an informed consent, even though a particular communication could be both analysis and IC. (For instance, an analyst who explains transference at the moment it will