Ethical and Legal Implications of Informed Consent for Mental Health Professionals

Presenter: Cadyn Cathers, PsyD

Date September 1, 2023

Time 10:00am-2:30pm (with 2 – 15 minute break)

4 CEs


The concept of informed consent has its roots with both legal and ethical realms. The World Professional Association for Transgender Health Standards of Care version (SOC-8) advocates for informed consent in which access to transgender-related healthcare is based on providing adequate information to make an informed decision balancing out risks and benefits. Mental health professionals are called on to both assess for capacity to consent and to work with transgender and nonbinary (TGNB) clients to address any mental health considerations that may impact the ability to provide consent prior to initiation of GAMST (gender affirming medical and/or surgical treatment). The same symptoms that interfere with capacity for consent may also interfere with perioperative care, post operative instructions, and long term follow up medical recommendations. Informed consent honors our ethical duty to respect client autonomy, but few psychotherapists have received training on how to assess capacity to consent. This course will explore the 4 components of decisional incapacity for decisional incapacity found within US statutory and case law: understanding of the treatment, appreciation of the nature of the medical condition and possibility of treatment being helpful, reasoning to rationally consider risks and benefits, and communication of the choice. Autonomy of patients is  respected when all components of decisional capacity are considered and informed consent is explicitly ensured rather than implied. 

Learning Objectives:

  1. Discuss the components of decisional incapacity within US statutory and case law
  2. Explicitly assess for capacity for informed consent for GAMST
  3. Address mental health symptoms that may impair capacity to provide informed consent 
  4. Discuss two ethical issues involving informed consent for affirmative psychotherapists 

About the Presenter

Cadyn Cathers, PsyD smiling and standing in front a rainbow brick wall. He is wearing a light blue button down, blue slacks, and brown belt. Photo Credit: Crystal Lily PhotographyCadyn Cathers, PsyD (he/him/his) has been teaching courses on human sexuality, psychotherapy with LGBTQIA+ communities, and psychodynamic theory for over 10 years, and serves as teaching faculty at Antioch University Los Angeles in the LGBT Specialization. He is the founder and CEO of The Affirmative Couch, which provides online continuing education on clinical work with LGBTQIA+, CNM, and kink communities. He is a licensed psychologist in private practice at the Out Couch Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, P.C., where he focuses on psychoanalytic psychotherapy with transgender and nonbinary patients.







$49 for licensed

$39 for licensed in non-profit organization (Use coupon code at checkout: informedconsentNP)

$29 for pre-licensed (Use Coupon Code at checkout:  informedconsentPL)

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This course is included in the annual and lifetime memberships.

Annual Membership

Lifetime Membership

Completion Requirements

Live Event

  • To get CE credit for the live event, you need to be present for all five hours.
  • You will be asked to sign in and out in the chat box in order to track attendance during breaks.
  • We will email you your certificate of attendance within 48 hours of the course.


You will need to take the post-test with at least a 80% score in order to receive your certificate for a homestudy course.

Additional Information

Instruction Level

This course is meant for an intermediate audience. 

Therapists with extensive experience working with transgender and nonbinary clients will likely find this course basic. 

Who should Attend

Psychologists, counselors, and marriage and family therapists and social workers.


Live, virtual presentation with the opportunity for interaction with the presenter. 

Recorded live webinar

Recorded, edited video.

Zoom Link

You will need to get your zoom link to attend the live event. After purchase, go to “my account” then “my courses” and obtain your zoom link. If you do not receive a confirmation email from zoom within 24 hours, please contact us.


Financial Support

The Affirmative Couch pays course presenters for their teaching. There is no other financial support for this course.

Conflict of Interest

There is no reported conflict of interest or outside commercial support for this course.

Contact Information

For any inquiries related to subject matter, problem resolution, corrections, grievances, or anything else, please contact us.


The Affirmative Couch will work to accommodate reasonable accommodations requests. Requests can be emailed with the event date and “accommodation request” in the subject line at least 1 week ahead of time. Requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.


Testimonials Regarding the Presenter in Other Courses

Identity Development around Sexuality, Gender and Relationships

“Cadyn’s mastery of knowledge combined with his personable and approachable style made for a welcoming space for learning.”

“Cadyn is amazing! He is a wealth of knowledge and provides such a rich tapestry of understanding, perspective taking, and case conceptualization. It was so informative and I am excited to share this information not only with clients but also with fellow clinicians.”

Psychological Preparation for Medical Transition

“Dr. Cathers/Cadyn was such a rockstar. I can’t even imagine teaching a 6 hour training, much less a 12-hour. He’s incredible and I hope he enjoyed teaching it as much as we loved learning about the info.”

Transference/Countertransference with LGBTQIA+ Clients (February 24, 2022)

“This was so informative and had rich clinical implication! Cadyn provided so many excellent clinical examples and metaphors that were very illustrative and digestible”

“This was helpful as a cis-gendered therapist in being able to recognize transference and countertransferences with working with LBGTQIA+ folx that I have previously been unable to recognize or work with in a therapeutic way.”

“I wish I’d had more of this in grad school. This made psychodynamics and object relations so much more accessible to me. I became disinterested in psychoanalytic therapy because, based on experiences with professors, I thought psychoanalytic work was inherently homophobic and I struggled to sort out what was helpful and what was not. I wish I’d had more of this and am glad to have found this resource now. ALSO this presentation of psychoanalytic therapy felt humble and respectful. I often experienced my professors as asserting that they knew me, other students, and their clients better than we all each knew ourselves. These experiences left me worried that psychoanalytic therapy often put the therapist in a position of too much power and could be hurtful (which I still think can be the case), but this training has left me with more imagination of how to play with psychodynamic theory.”

Continuing Education Approvals


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The Affirmative Couch, LLC is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Affirmative Couch, LLC maintains responsibility for this program and its content.


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