Emailing, Texting And Other Communication With Clients

An educational article series in 9 articles, with Further Reading and Resources at the end

There is no doubt in our minds that email and texting are the hottest technology issue on the minds of mental health clinicians across the US.

You’d think it would be online video or Internet record-keeping, right? Nope! Everywhere we go, most of the curiosity and anxiety is focused on these, the most popular media for communication with clients.

As such, we’ve written a ton about them. And the environment around email and texting in mental health has been rapidly shifting for years, so we’ve updated these articles many times. We hope you find them useful!

What Is This Again?

Person-Centered Tech has been publishing free articles on technology in mental health practice since 2012. The following is a curated series of those articles, painstakingly updated for the current moment and placed in an order to help you get the most benefit from them.

Along these lines, we also offer a continuing education course on Email and Texting in Mental Health Practice. If you would like CE credit for your study time, check out the course here.

The following articles are numbered according to our recommended reading order. Of course you may buck our system and read them however you wish.

Seem Like a Lot of Articles To Read At Once??

The Articles

Before we can start talking about the use of email in our practices, we need to establish the basics of how email fits in to the HIPAA picture. This next article does that, while also giving some resources for finding the kinds of email services you may need.

Internet phone services have exploded in recent years, and therapists are flocking to use them. We hate to report bad news around here, but nearly every one of those cheap Internet phone services does not play well with HIPAA. That doesn’t mean all is lost, though. Read on for details:

Would You Rather These Articles Were Sent to You by Email?

Okay, time for one of the most popular articles in the history of Person-Centered Tech! To be honest, though, we have mixed feelings about it. We’ve become concerned that many therapists find themselves easily pulled in to the idea of a quick and easy fix for the issue of exchanging emails and texts with clients. That doesn’t mean conventional, nonsecure email is unusable, though. We simply ask that everyone read both of the following 2 articles with a serious mind towards ethical and legal responsibilities around client safety and confidentiality.

RoyThese next two are premium articles. That means that unlike the vast majority of our articles, they are not available to the general public. There are two ways to access them: you can be a paid member of Person-Centered Tech Support (members can just click the link below and start reading now), or you can read them as part of our CE course on email and texting.

Not interested in the advanced discussion from these premium articles? No problem. The free articles continue below this box.

5) Texting and HIPAA Compliant Practice

White haired man texting Who knew that a culture raised on TV would get so sucked into a medium called “texting?” Well, we did. And so did our clients! So let’s take a look at how texting fits into the HIPAA compliance picture.

This is a premium article. You can read it as part of our course, Email and Texting in Mental Health Practice: Legal-Ethical and Risk Management Issues. Alternatively, the article is always viewable for members of our Person-Centered Tech Support service.

6) Professionalism In Engaging With Clients by Email and Text

BFFs with Smartphone How do you talk when you type your texts? The question of appropriate language in texts and emails is long-discussed and fraught with angst. Let’s explore some perspectives on these issues.

This is a premium article. You can read it as part of our course, Email and Texting in Mental Health Practice: Legal-Ethical and Risk Management Issues. Alternatively, the article is always viewable for members of our Person-Centered Tech Support service.

Now that we’ve explored the big issues around email, texting, and confidentiality, let’s look at a couple of good tools for doing it!

7) Apps You Can Use To Create Highly Private Spaces Online for Clients

Siblings whispering

I’d like to tell you about two software services that may be of interest to most clinicians who are looking for ways to provide a high level of privacy for clients. But first, some background: At Person-Centered Tech, we are often asked how clinicians can do both of these things: Do texting or email with clients in […]

Documentation of emails and texts has been a moving target for years. As such, we’ve updated this article many time since it was first published. We invite you to read on to discover what is up in our most recent update of it!

And finally, some advice that comes from Roy’s experiences consulting for colleagues who’ve had their email hacked.

9) 2 Steps to Avoid Getting Your Email Hacked

Gum stuck to man's shoe

I don’t do a lot of consulting for people who’ve experienced a “security breach” in their practices. But in the last year I’ve gotten 7 inquiries about security breaches from colleagues, and every single one was from someone whose email had been hacked into. So I’d like to make sure everyone knows the two things […]

Further Reading and Resources

We’ve produced a ton of articles on practice tech just for mental health professionals. Below are several that we think are worth reading your way through over time.