Ethical and HIPAA-Compliant Web Presence Episode 1: Therapist Websites and Practice Profiles, 2019 Edition

1 CE Credit Hour. Legal-Ethical. Continuing Education Session Replay.

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

Course Description

Close-up of dew on a spider's web

The PCT experts answer commonly-asked questions about legal-ethical considerations for websites, therapist directory profiles, and Facebook pages and identify risk management solutions.

This introductory-level update course for counselors, clinical social workers, marriage and family therapists, and clinical and counseling psychologists will help learners to understand primary considerations and sound risk management solutions for creating a practice website that meets the content and functionality requirements necessary to comply with HIPAA, include content that meets ethical standards, and manage risks related to Facebook business pages and therapist directory profiles.

Educational Objectives

  • Update learners’ websites for HIPAA compliance when accepting messages or other information submitted through the site
  • Update learners’ websites to meet applicable ethical standards for website content
  • Describe ethical issues and risk management considerations for the 3 most popular therapist profile websites


  1. What HIPAA Security standards and ethical standards impact websites and therapist directory profiles?
    • Protected health information (PHI) and how it is defined
    • Web hosting and the Business Associate Rule
    • The Transmission Security standard
  2. How do websites contact PHI? How can we manage the associated security risks?
    • Where website information goes and how to keep track of it
    • Website brochure information
    • Blog posts
    • Self-help information or recordings
    • Downloadable practice forms (often as PDF files)
    • Contact information
    • “Contact Me” pages
    • Self-scheduling widgets
  3. What content items do I need on my website for legal-ethical reasons?
    • Website accessibility, legal-ethical standards and solutions
    • Posting professional credentials
    • Client testimonials
    • Posting information for clients and the community
  4. What are some important legal-ethical considerations in Facebook pages, GoodTherapy Profiles, and Psychology Today profiles?
    • Potential confidentiality issues
    • Comments from clients and potential clients
    • HIPAA issues in contact through these sites


  • American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. (2015). Code of Ethics . Alexandria, VA: Author.
  • American Counseling Association. (2014). ACA Code of Ethics. Alexandria, VA: Author.
  • American Psychological Association. (2010). American Psychological Association Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct . Washington, DC: Author.
  • National Association of Social Workers. (2017). Code of Ethics . Washington, DC: Author.
  • National Board for Certified Counselors. (2012). Code of Ethics . Greensboro, NC: Author.
  • US Dept. of Health and Human Services. (2006). HIPAA Administrative Simplification . Washington, DC: Author.
  • US Dept. of Health and Human Services. (2013). HIPAA Omnibus Final Rule . Washington, DC: Author.
1 CE Credit Hour.

Presented/Developed By

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: None

This course is subject to our cancellation/refund policy and complaint policy.

1 CE Credit Hour.
Close-up of dew on a spider's web

1 CE Credit Hour. Legal-Ethical. Continuing Education Session Replay.


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