The provision of mental health services over the Internet is becoming increasingly common place as unknown technologies continue to develop. Evidence to support the efficacy of many such interventions is accumulating. Given the potential global reach of Internet-based psychological services, the authors examine ethical issues relating to this growing area of practice through the lens of the Universal Declaration of Ethical Principles for Psychologists (International Union of Psychological Science, 2008). They also raise issues relating to potential liability risks and offer recommendations intended to guide mental health practitioners who are considering involvement in the provision of Internet-based services.
Just as in face-to-face therapy, Internet-based mental health services can provide in a variety of styles and formats. Internet-based psychotherapy (IBP) has provided through web pages and self-help materials and often involves varying degrees of therapist contact (e.g. via e-mail, videoconferencing, and telephone; see Andersson et al., 2008).
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Several psychological associations have been referring IBP practitioners to more general ethical principles intended to address all areas of practice. For example, the American Psychological Association (APA; 1997) issued a statement on the delivery of services by telephone, teleconferencing, and Internet, which points to existing ethics code standards
that may be relevant, including Standard 1.04c, which states: “In those emerging areas
in which recognized standards for preparatory training do not yet exist, psychologists take reasonable steps to ensure the competence of their work and to protect patients, clients, students, research participants, and others from harm”.(APA, 2002).
Other national and international associations, such as the European Federation of Psychologists’ Associations (2005), the Hong Kong Psychological Society (1998).
And the Japanese Psychological Association(n.d.), also do not refer to the provision of services via electronic communication within their codes of ethics and conduct.
Principle I: respect for the dignity
of persons and peoples
Principle II: competent caring for the
wellbeing of persons and peoples
Principle III: integrity
Principle IV: professional and scientific
responsibilities to society
Often referred to as e-therapy, telehealth, video counselling, or e-counselling, online therapy involves a therapist providing psychotherapeutic support over the internet.
This assistance can be given in various ways, including via email, video conferencing, online chat or instant messaging.
Online therapy can be delivered in real-time (i.e. phone conversations) or in a time-delayed fashion (i.e. emails).
As an evolution of both counselling and psychotherapy, online therapy is an important tool for both professionals and clients with a wide range of benefits to both.
Helps with: Anxiety, bereavement, grief, loss, bullying, mental health, relationships, trauma, stress.
Counselling falls under the umbrella term of ‘talking therapies’.
Counselling gives people the opportunity to talk openly about their challenges and feelings, while being heard and understood. Counselling tends to be short-term and I tend to use solution-focused, existential and person-centred short-term methods. Counselling aims to help you live a more productive life in your own way.
If you are looking to make a positive change in your life, or would like to explore and understand your feelings in more depth, please explore my counselling services further.
Helps with: Mental health, wellness goals, fear and insecurities, stress, relationships, destructive habits, childhood trauma, grief, loss, anxiety and depression.
Psychotherapy is a collection of therapies designed to help you with the thoughts, feelings and behaviours that are affecting you. I am trained in integrative, existential and humanistic psychotherapies. This means I work with you wherever your headspace is.
Psychotherapy is more long-term work and gives you the necessary skills to cope with challenges in a healthy and empowering way.
If you are looking to take control of your life and move forward with confidence and resilience, please explore my psychotherapy services further.