Some states have ruled that licensed mental health professionals cannot practice online counseling in states in which they are not licensed. Counselors need to stay current regarding the changing laws pertaining to counseling across states. Clients have a right to expect that their therapist will be available during the course of the professional relationship even when temporarily out of state. To address barriers in providing psychological services across geographical boundaries, a movement has been initiated to make clinical licensure for psychologists transferable and valid in all 50 states. Once issues are ironed out by the state licensing boards, therapists who choose to offer professional services online will have to give careful thought to ways of limiting their legal liability to reducing potential harm to their clients.
An abundance of literature addresses how the electronic age has created new and improved way to deliver health care services. The following situations justify the use of remote services consistent with ethical practice and in keeping with regulatory standards: o When service is provided in the context of an existing therapy relation o When in-person treatment is either difficult or impossible to access due to client’s remote location. o When remote services offer practical advantages over in person treatment o When the client desires remote sessions and the therapist has sufficient information about the client to determine that this is an informed decision If a client does not have a past relationship with the counselor and lives in an area in which many therapists have similar skills, referral to local resources is the prudent approach to take from a professional and risk management perspective Use of smartphones Smartphone use may have unintended consequences, so psychotherapists must assess whether smartphones are a useful adjunct to treatment on a client-by-client basis. The smartphone is a widely available technology that can individualize the nature of client care and can tailor assessment and treatment strategies to the needs and preferences of each client. Competent counseling online Practitioners need to determine what kinds of services they can and cannot appropriately offer and they need to assess the benefits and risks of delivery of services remotely. Therapists who choose to counsel clients online should acquire special training to become competent. Clinicians must also gain a deeper understanding of how clients use and experience social networking sites A discussion of issues that may arise is a basic part of the informed consent process, especially when client and therapist are evaluating whether remote therapy is the right choice Our perspective on online counseling Therapists can combine remote therapy and in-person sessions.
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- Fall '19
- Psychotherapy, Family therapy, Informed consent