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Verifying a reputable on-line therapist.

answered 07:54 PM EST, Wed September 14, 2011
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What’s the best way to find a reputable online therapist? How can I know if some guy I communicate with by email is really who he says he is and is someone I should be taking life advice from!

David Johnson Says...

Good question! Look for affiliations for the therapist. That may be located on a resume or vita. They are other places were therapist works or is involved. They will know of the legitimacy. Look for a License. Although I'm not sure that all states have a license requirement, that is a good way to verify legitimacy and to find out if there were any sanctions against the therapist. Then look for legitimate means. The email has to be encrypted from both sides to be compliant with privacy laws in the US. Other technology, such as video, has to have a similar encryption and will need validation from the provider that they comply with privacy laws. Practices that use Hotmail or Skype or other free sites likely do not have that validation. I personally would only provide therapy services with clients who live in MN. Though technically, some states may not require in state limitations, I believe it is the likely course of future laws. I also will only provide services via video conferencing. I am not comfortable with trying to do therapy via email, phone or texting. In fact, my opinion is that there is research evidence that says it is something different than therapy. There is research that shows video conferencing appears to be as effective and effectively equivalent to therapy in person.

There are many other things a therapist must do to ensure a ethical and protected service, much more than I can respond to in this format.

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Page last updated Sep 14, 2011

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