Kansas Professional Licensing Attorney Asks: Need a Counselor? There’s an App for that

Reaping the benefits of talk therapy is now easier than ever before. All a prospective patient has to do is download a mobile application, or app for short, pay a fee and gain access to thousands of therapists across the globe. Health insurance may also help defray or even pay the bulk of the therapist’s fees subject to the transmittal of a small co-pay.

A relationship between an online therapist and a client comes with similar ethical obligations as a traditional face-to-face relationship might. However, the uniqueness of the online client-therapist interaction creates additional problems to which the therapist must give significant consideration and care. Failing to navigate these relatively unchartered waters carefully may result in facing disciplinary hearings for ethical violations. In short, online counseling presents a way for the therapist to reach clients who might otherwise not have the chance to engage in much-needed therapy; however, the latest innovation in counseling could trap the unwary in a difficult ethical dilemma.

Kansas and Missouri professional disciplinary defense attorney Danielle Sanger is dedicated to protecting you, your family, and your way of life from the clutches of licensing discipline. Licensing disciplinary actions are dissimilar to most legal controversies in that the decision to render disciplinary action is left to the discretion of a panel of board members or an administrative law judge. The laws and regulations governing the administrative law rules in Kansas and Missouri are equally complicated and confusing, even for highly educated and sophisticated people like therapists. Therefore, hiring an attorney who understands the administrative law procedure is insufficient. To successfully defend your professional license, you need an attorney who has a practice devoted to defending people’s professional licenses like Attorney Danielle Sanger.

In-person talk therapy sessions can strip the client to her or his core and expose the emotional and psychological stressors hampering the client’s wellbeing. Anonymity is not an option, and the client cannot hide from the probing questions a therapist asks to bring emotional baggage to the fore and help the client heal. By contrast, online therapy is not real in the sense that it is not face-to-face in the same room but through the medium of the internet. Online therapy distorts the picture that allows the patient to hide behind a veneer and gives the therapist a sense of distance which could minimize the significance of the client-therapist relationship.

Notwithstanding the artificial feel or appearance online therapy sessions might present, the legal implications of offering online therapy are very real. To protect themselves from allegations of unethical behavior, overreaching, and misconduct, counselors must use a carefully and thoroughly crafted informed consent document that thoroughly describes the nature of the relationship as well as the risks associated with online counseling and the potential cost of the sessions. Toward that end, therapists should explain to their clients:

  • the nature of the therapy services to be provided,
  • the potential benefits and risks associated with the particular treatment,
  • defining how treatment goals are reached,
  • cost of therapy, including fees the therapists receive, and
  • how to discuss or dispute the prices or quality of the services rendered.

Online therapy creates an artificial sense of bonding. Despite the physical distance, therapists must disclose to their online patients under what circumstances a therapist has to warn others about potential self-inflicted harm or the possibility of harming others.

Therapists must be greatly concerned with patient confidentiality and privacy. All therapists must protect their clients’ confidences at all costs. The duty to safeguard client confidences extends to online therapy as well. Therapists must be certain that their technology is up-to-date and protects their clients’ information from hackers and other threats that can undermine the sanctity of the therapist-client privilege.

Learn to Grow Your Business Online Ethically

Online therapy sessions present a wonderful new method of marketing a business while reaching out to people who need help. If you are a therapist who questions the ethical considerations of online therapy sessions or is facing professional discipline because of an allegation of unethical or unprofessional behavior during an online therapy session, call Kansas Professional Licensing Attorney today at 785-979-4353 today.