Kansas and Missouri Professional Licensing Attorney Discusses Ethical Considerations Of Online Therapy

With so much of our lives entombed in computers, there is little surprise that therapy sessions are now available online. The American Psychological Association (APA) calls the trend “telepsychology.” Telepsychology, according to the APA is the general rubric for any therapy session that is conducted either online, via a web service, or over a telecommunications portal. Both Missouri and Kansas now authorize their licensed therapists to conduct online therapy sessions.

Telepsychology has a tremendous upside, but therapists must be aware of the potential ethical pitfalls. If you are a therapist who has encountered disciplinary action because of online therapy or for any other reason, Kansas and Missouri professional licensing attorney Danielle Sanger has over a decade of experience fighting to protect therapists from allegations of ethical violations.

Some therapists offer video sessions via an online portal like Skype. One company has advanced the idea and has created a computer platform dedicated to facilitating therapeutical appointments without the face to face interaction. The service boasts that use of its portal will reduce costs significantly for patients and be considerably more convenient.

The program works more like a dating service than a referral system. Prospective patients complete an assessment form. The form is analyzed and categorized by individual metrics based on how the patient answers questions on the evaluation form. Next, the patient is matched with a therapist if the patient enrolls in the service. The service plans begin at $32 per week. The patient is eligible to conduct online therapy sessions once the transaction is consummated.

Prospective patients should not be misled. The minimum service is $32 per week. This allows for unlimited text or email exchanges. The website marketing this service indicates that therapists will respond one to two times per day. If written responses are insufficient for the patient, then they can schedule an online chat through a portal like Skype. The service does not indicate what the costs are for a streaming conference session. The website does discuss that couples therapy costs $59 per week. Additionally, the website offers gift cards and corporate functions as well.

The therapeutic services available on the website are what one would expect a psychologist or therapist to provide. They want to attract people who are having relationship difficulties, job problems, feeling trapped, or unable to achieve their goals. The service does have emergency response resources available for individuals who are suicidal or homicidal. However, the website redirects people in crisis to call 911 or present to an emergency room.

One service it does boast is assistance with social media dependence. The service claims that people become depressed and anxious after looking at social media too long. Therefore, some people may require talk therapy to work out their problems caused by prolonged exposure to social media.

Many testimonials posted on the service’s website exclaim the virtue of texting their therapist instead of treating in a traditional setting. Some said that removing the discomfort of face-to-face interaction allowed them to express themselves more accurately. Some people claimed to like the convenience of texting their therapist whenever they wanted to do so.

Therapists who chose to treat their patients this way must be wary of maintaining confidences. Therapists must be aware of protecting privacy and securing privileged information that is stored electronically. Additionally, therapists must be careful not to mislead others while participating in this service.

For More Information

Many people, especially those folks who are busy or live in remote areas who simply do not have the time or the resources to attend regular appointments can benefit from online therapy. As time passes, more and more services will be hosted online. As a result, many ethical questions will need answers. You can turn to Kansas and Missouri Professional Licensing Attorney Danielle Sanger for representation if you are facing a disciplinary hearing or investigation. Call Attorney Sanger today at 785-979-4353 to schedule a consultation and learn how her years of experience and aggressive defense of professional licensees will benefit you.