Telepsychology is a new way to practice counseling with the use of technology. The use of email, phones, Skype, smart phones have made talking to the client an easy way to reach them any time at any place. Along with being new and innovating the use of technology is not without scrutiny. For some it is unconventional breaking the traditional way to counsel clients. In the past face to face, one on one meetings in an office space or home practice. Now one on one can be done on phones and computers. Yes it may lose that certain lack of personal contact with the client, it is hard to watch the client for their reactions and movements to tell is they are comfortable or if they are having any crisis at that time. With the use of Skype one on one calls replace the office visit.
Since this is a new way to conduct a counseling session it is slowly being utilized because of the fear of losing that personal connection with the client and safety of their personal information. The American Psychological Association (APA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, The association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) and APA insurance Trust (APAIT) has recognized the use of technology and feels it is here to stay. They have come up with guidelines to protect clients as well as counselors, therapists and agencies or organizations that counsel client's with technology. New information gathered by professionals using technology provides education and best practices for anyone starting or considering using technology to counsel their client's. It helps to develop a professional standard or professional behavior that others can follow.
The guidelines strongly suggest that providers must take responsibility to ensure the highest standards and maintain strict levels of confidentiality. To ensure safety of the client's information by increasing internet security and providers must ensure ethical standards of care. All counselors have their client's sign a consent to treat form which should provide information about the services provided and the client's rights by using technology as a form of counseling.
I up hold the APA guidelines for my practice I want to assure my clients their information is strongly protected and securely handled. My standards are at the highest levels. I take my work very seriously and want to reach as many clients as possible. Using technology is new and can be confusing for providers and clients but if we follow the guidelines we can develop this new technology.