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Counselors encounter a variety of legal and ethical challenges in the course of their work. Stoll et al. (2020) present a good example of an ethical case illustrating legal concerns confronting internet therapy. Significant changes in professional practice have occurred from innovation and technical developments. Stoll et al. (2020) discovered a considerable rise in the patient population seeking online psychotherapy services over the last decade. Based on these developments, counselors must examine a number of legal and ethical issues that may impact treatment delivery. Privacy, confidentiality, and security were cited as key legal challenges influencing online counseling by Stoll et al. (2020). Failures in security protections might result in breaches of confidentiality and privacy. Text-based online therapy encounters communication challenges due to the absence of nonverbal clues, which can lead to misunderstanding and misinterpretation. Due to legal gaps in cross-border licensure, certification, and jurisdiction, online counseling confronts legal concerns.
Counselors can prepare for these concerns by implementing technology with high security standards to secure client data. The National Board for Certified Counselors’ (2016) and American Psychological Association’s (2017) codes of ethics urge clinicians to safeguard client confidentiality by taking the appropriate procedures to secure sensitive client information. The National Board for Certified Counselors (2016) advises that confidentiality boundaries be disclosed. Online counselors, according to Stoll et al. (2020), must comprehend border and jurisdiction concerns that impact the formation of a professional counseling relationship online. According to the American Psychological Association (2017), professionals who want to deliver services to new groups and places should get relevant education and training. According to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (2015), practitioners must follow relevant regulations while providing online services. Online counselors can increase communication by better understanding the communication issues of online media (Stoll et al., 2020). This strategy will assist to reduce the possibility of misunderstanding and misinterpretation, which might have a detrimental influence on service delivery.
American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. (2015). Code of ethics. AAMFT. https://www.aamft.org/imis15/Content/Legal_Ethics/Code_of_Ethics.aspx.
American Psychological Association. (2017). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct. APA. https://www.apa.org/ethics/code/index.
National Board for Certified Counselors. (2016). Code of ethics. NBCC. chrome-extension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/https://www.nbcc.org/assets/Ethics/NBCCCodeofEthics.pdf.
Stoll, J., Müller, J. A., & Trachsel, M. (2020). Ethical issues in online psychotherapy: A narrative review. Frontiers in psychiatry, 10 (993), 1-16. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00993