Email and Texting in Mental Health Practice: Legal-Ethical and Risk Management Issues
CE Approvals by NBCC, Ohio CSWMFT, and the Texas Counseling and Social Work Boards
California LMFTs, LCSWs, and LPCCs: CE approval is through NBCC
2 Hours. Self-Study. CE. Guided Reading.
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.
To get details on what articles are included, see the syllabus here→
- Assess email and texting services for appropriateness for use in professional practice, and work with clients to use them effectively and safely.
- Comply with legal-ethical security standards when using email and texting in professional practice.
- Communicate professionally with clients over email and text messaging.
- Maintain legal and ethical documentation when using email and texting in professional practice.
Telemental Health Basic Starter Pack
7 CE hours in 4 courses. Includes the “Online Therapy Primer” guided reading course, our video presentation skills for telemental health course, the “Email and Texting in Mental Health Practice: Legal-Ethical and Risk Management Issues” guided reading course, and our guest seminar from telemental health super-expert Jay Ostrowski, “What’s Coming and What’s Here in Online Therapy.”
Get it here!→
Telemental Health Super Starter Pack
14 CE hours in 7 courses. Just like the basic pack, the super pack includes the “Online Therapy Primer” guided reading course as well as our guest seminar from telemental health super-expert Jay Ostrowski, “What’s Coming and What’s Here in Online Therapy.” Additionally, it includes “Video Presentation Skills in Telemental Health, Both Basic and Intermediate,” and our complete “Email and Texting in Mental Health Practice: Legal-Ethical and Risk Management Issues” guided reading course. It also includes all 7 hours, from 3 courses, of our core Digital Confidentiality Course series. It really is the ultimate way to get yourself started on the path to telemental health practice!
Get it here!→
These articles are written by Roy Huggins, LPC NCC, 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 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.