Email and Texting in Mental Health Practice: Legal-Ethical and Risk Management Issues
2 CE Hours. Guided Reading.
Developed and written by Roy Huggins, LPC NCC
CE Approvals by the American Psychological Association (APA), the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC), and
Ohio CSWMFT, and the Texas Counseling and Social Work Boards
California clinicians: CE approval is through APA and NBCC
This course is also included in our Telemental Health Packages. Save time and money with our online CE packages here→.
Think about the difference between clients calling to say they’re running late and clients emailing or texting to say they’re running late.
The convenience difference is huge! And clients love it. But if the questions we get at Person-Centered Tech are any indication, most clinicians are still wondering how email and texting can fit into their practices without legal or ethical complications. Can we use them and be HIPAA compliant? Is it really true that clients can request that I send them unencrypted emails? What options are available to me for email and texting services that work for my HIPAA needs?
This course will get into all of that and more, including how email and texting fit into the professional practice and HIPAA landscape, perspectives on secure and nonsecure emails and texts, general risk management concerns, professional engagement with clients by email or text, and finally the big questions of what and how to document all those messages exchanged with clients. The Resources page will point you towards some viable service provider options, and we provide some handy practice forms in the Handouts page.
This introductory-level course is intended for counselors, marriage and family therapists, clinical social workers, and counseling and clinical psychologists.
Roy Huggins, LPC NCC, is a counselor in private practice who also directs Person-Centered Tech. Roy worked as a professional Web developer for 7 years before changing paths, and makes it his mission to grow clinicians’ understanding of the Internet and other electronic communications mediums for the future of our practices and our professions.
Roy is an adjunct instructor at the Portland State University Counseling program where he teaches Ethics, and is a member of the Zur Institute advisory board. He has acted as a subject matter expert on HIPAA, security and clinical use of technology for Counseling licensure boards and both state and national mental health professional organizations. He has co-authored or authored 2 book chapters, and he routinely consults with mental health colleagues on ethical and practical issues surrounding tech in clinical practice. He served for 5 years on the board of the Oregon Mental Health Counselors Association and then the Oregon Counseling Association as the Technology Committee Chair.
He really likes this stuff.
Accuracy, Utility, and Risks Statement: The contents of this program are based primarily on publications from the US Department of Health and Human Services, publications from attorneys, and on guidelines and/or ethics codes of these professional organizations: AAMFT, ACA, APA, ATA, NASW, and NBCC. Some interpretation and analysis presented is made by the presenter, in consultation with knowledgeable colleagues and expert consultants. Statements about applications to technology are according to presenter’s understanding of the technology at the time of the program. The presenter may not know how to apply all principles discussed to every technology type or product. This program discusses strategies for complying with covered ethics codes and HIPAA, and for legally and ethically using email and texting in practice. It may not include information on all applicable state laws. Misapplication of the materials, or errors in the materials, could result in security problems, data breaches, or non-compliance with applicable laws or ethics codes.
Conflicts of Interest: Program presenter has no known conflicts of interest.
Commercial Support: This program has no commercial support.
Person Centered Tech, LLC is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Person Centered Tech, LLC maintains responsibility for this program and its content.
Person-Centered Tech, LLC has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6582. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. Person-Centered Tech, LLC is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.
Ohio CSWMFT Pre-Approved Provider #: RCST071601
Pre-approved by the Texas Social Work Board (#6357) and Texas Counseling Board (#1883)
California clinicians: CE approval is through APA and NBCC.