This may be done by disguising those features of the patient’s identity that are not essential to the psychotherapeutic process that the author aims to demonstrate. The result should be that the patient must be unrecognisable to a reader. It is the author’s responsibility to ensure that this is so prior to submitting a paper, and submissions will be considered on the basis of the assumption that such measures have been taken. Some authors will ask the patient for written consent in addition to making the necessary efforts at disguise, and the implications for the impact on the patient of such a request should be considered in advance and discussed in depth with the patient if the request is made.
In the case of child patients, parental consent should also be sought, and consideration should be given to delaying submission of clinical material at least until a time when therapy has been terminated and the patient is over the age of eighteen years or has developed to such a stage to be considered a mature minor.
Clinical papers could also be themed on a particular syndrome or pattern in the psychotherapeutic encounter, in which case it may be possible to demonstrate this by homogenously composing a clinical scenario drawn from the clinical experience with several different patients. Another potential approach to addressing clinical material could involve the presentation of a series of brief vignettes in which the essence of the exchange of dialogue between therapist and patient is given in the absence of any potentially identifying information about the patient’s personal circumstances.
A combination of these measures to protect the patient’s privacy might be applied in the construction of a clinical paper.