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It is important that you understand the risks inherent in a remote counseling relationship, so you can safeguard yourself against abuses and privacy violations.

Although online counseling affords you some unique privacy benefits – you do have to take some basic steps to safeguard your information and to ensure that you receive counseling services from a professional qualified to provide them.

Make sure:

  • You verify the identity and credentials of any online therapist under consideration. A reputable therapist should provide you with a real-world address and phone number and should list her credentials clearly on her website. You can (and should) verify the validity and good standing of any professional counseling or therapy licenses advertised with the relevant administering body. Because you will not meet in-person, you want to take extra steps to ensure that the person you take advice from is qualified to give it!
  • You safeguard the security of your communication. You do not want third parties to have access to your confidential and private therapy session information. Make sure that your online therapist uses effective encryption technology to keep your private information safe. Your therapist should be able to explain what steps are taken to protect information, both in transmission and in storage on her personal computer.
  • Likewise, make sure that information stored on your personal computer is private and secure from others who may also use your computer. You may want to consider a separate email address for therapy communications. Also be aware that your employer has a legal right to any information stored on a work computer.

 

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Page last updated Aug 05, 2010

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