An Online Therapy Primer: Legal, Ethical, and Technical Issues in Starting Telemental Health Practice

Course Materials

Introduction
How to Get Started With a “Skype Therapy” Practice
To Practice Telemental Health, Am I Required to Receive Training?
International Online Therapy: What to Know Before You Go (and Start Doing It)
Chapter 2: Technology Choices
Can I Practice "Skype Therapy" Across State Lines?
How Skype Became Software Non-Grata, and Other Tech Will, Too
What You Need to Know About Telemental Health Technology
Do I Need a Whole Telemental Health “Platform?”
Chapter 3: Beginning Barriers
When Online Therapy Video Sessions Go Glitchy: Some Tips
Epilogue

Syllabus

This course is a guided reading, which means it is made up of a series of related articles. Below are the articles included in this course:

  • How to Get Started With a “Skype Therapy” Practice: A survey article that covers the basics of what issues to cover and authorities to inquire with when starting up telemental health practice.
  • To Practice Telemental Health, Am I Required to Receive Training?: A survey of how our professional organizations view telemental health competence gained through training. We give some examples of ethical and legal requirements regarding telemental health competence, specifically as gained through training.
  • Can I Practice “Skype Therapy” Across State Lines?: A survey of the issues involved in practicing across state lines. Covers multiple licensure and “calling it coaching.”
  • International Online Therapy: What to Know Before You Go (and Start Doing It): A survey of the issues to investigate when practicing across national borders. We cover not just licensure but also cultural/logistical/communications issues and things that are unique about how we view mental health practice in the US.
  • How Skype Became Software Non-Grata, and Other Tech Will, Too: A combination of a legal-technical survey of exactly why Skype is no longer accepted with a discussion of the process of cost-benefit analysis in security risk management vis-a-vis choosing the right software for your practice. This article is meant to prepare professionals to think forward regarding what tools they use now that may become seen as unacceptable or strange to use in the future.
  • What You Need to Know About Telemental Health Technology: A survey of legal-technical issues to address in software service selection. Covers HIPAA, ethics codes and state laws, and American Telemedicine Association guidelines for video software.
  • Do I Need a Whole Telemental Health “Platform?”: A survey of basic technical-logistical needs that a telemental health practice has. Explores how each need could be met by an integrated platform vs. being accomplished via a “piecemeal” strategy.
  • When Online Therapy Video Sessions Go Glitchy: Some Tips: A technical explanation of why video-based telemental health sessions can get interrupted by lag in the Internet connection caused by the therapist’s or client’s own setup problems. Gives strategies for solving these problems proactively.

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