Issues in complementary and alternative medicine
Issues in complementary and alternative medicine

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Issues in complementary and alternative medicine

3.14 Key ethical issues for CAM practitioners: negotiation of contracts with users

To benefit users, the user and the practitioner must work towards common goals that have been explicitly discussed. It is especially important for the user to understand the limits of what the therapy can deliver and not be under any delusions about the likely extent of recovery. What should CAM practitioners tell users about the therapy and about themselves? Practitioners cannot assume that users know what their therapy entails. A useful starting point might be to give users an introduction to the therapy itself. The practitioner's responsibilities might also include:

  • to agree a fee per session (the first session can be more expensive because it takes much longer than future appointments)

  • to discuss how many sessions to have before progress is reviewed

  • to indicate how long therapy is likely to continue

  • to give users a copy of the notes at the end of the treatment so they can use them in the future when pursuing other or further therapies.

If the user is expected to contribute materially to the success of the therapy by exercising self-responsibility and following the practitioner's recommendations about diet and exercise, this should be made clear to them at the start of the therapy.

The user's responsibilities include:

  • to attend appointments

  • to follow reasonable advice given by the practitioner

  • to show courtesy and respect for the practitioner as an individual

  • to pay promptly for all therapy sessions (including cancelled sessions if this was agreed).

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