How to Text with Your Clients Session 2: Boundaries, Professionalism, and Competence

Course Materials

How to Text with Your Clients Session 2: Boundaries, Professionalism, and Competence

1 CE Hour. Continuing Education for Office Hours (CE for OH) Session Replay.

Developed by Roy Huggins, LPC NCC
Presented by Roy Huggins, LPC NCC; Liath Dalton

BFFs with smartphone

Texting: love it or hate it, many clients want it. But engaging in texting with clients raises an array of questions even beyond that basic ones of security and compliance issues which we discussed in part 1 of this 2-part series.

When you write a text message, do you use formal written English or do you type like you’re talking? What is the appropriate and professional way to do it? How do you maintain boundaries with clients who expect quick responses or availability outside your usual hours? What kinds of texting are appropriate for a conventional psychotherapeutic relationship? When does it become telemental health?

This introductory-level course for counselors, clinical social workers, marriage and family therapists, and clinical and counseling psychologists will help learners understand the issues surrounding boundaries and professionalism in texting with clients, and to develop their own approach to maintaining both.

1 CE Hour. Continuing Education for Office Hours (CE for OH) Session Replay.

Educational Objectives

  • Manage ethical and effective boundaries around mobile, textual communication with clients
  • Know and maintain the boundaries of the learner’s competency to employ texting an a telemental health context
  • Communicate in a professional manner when using texting with clients


  1. How do professional ethics codes (and other authorities) approach texting with clients?
    • Ethics codes on texting and other “always-on” communication
    • What are ethics codes not addressing about texting-based communication with clients?
  2. How does texting impact therapeutic and personal boundaries?
    • Managing differing cultural expectations around text messaging
    • Establishing and norming boundaries for you and your clients’ needs
  3. How does texting with clients relate to telemental health practice?
    • What is “telemental health”?
    • Working with clients on communication appropriate to the relationship and the tools being used
  4. What are the likely best practices around how to write text messages to clients?
    • Research on texting’s role in English-language communication
    • Creating your own professional voice in texting

Course Developer/Primary Presenter

Roy Huggins, LPC NCCRoy 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.

Course Co-Presenters

Liath Dalton is a Ph.D candidate in Religious Studies. She began her academic career at Reed College and continued her graduate work at the University of Cape Town.

Liath is the Deputy Director for Person Centered Tech and runs our HIPAApropriateness review program. Through her combination of experience evaluating products for their utility and security in regards to how they can meet risk management needs and providing guidance to members around what product options will best meet their specific practice needs, Liath has an intimate knowledge of both what the practice tech needs are for mental health professionals and what it takes for a product to meet those needs.

Program Notices

Accuracy, Utility, and Risks Statement:The contents of this program are based on publications and reports from the federal Department of Health and Human Services; consultation with experts on HIPAA Security standards and their implementation; and personal study from the program developers. 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 HIPAA and covered ethics codes. 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: None.

Commercial Support: This program has no commercial support.

All events for this program will be subject to our cancellation/refund policy and complaint policy.

Photo by João Silas on Unsplash

ACEP LogoPerson 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.

ACEP LogoPerson-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.

State Approvals

Pre-approved by the Texas Social Work Board (#6357) and Texas Counseling Board (#1883)

Ohio CSWMFT Pre-Approved Provider #: RCST071601

Person-Centered Tech, LLC is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #SW-0540.