Online Therapy, Ethics and E Mental Health

The internet has created a whole new way of seeing a mental health professional for common problems such as anxiety, depression, and academic problems: online therapy. Basically, you choose a particular E clinic and select from a list of online psychologists, clinical social workers, family and marriage therapists, or counselors. Then, you set up a date and time on the website, pay, and are good to go. On the day you are scheduled to see the therapist you are sent a reminder email, then go to your computer, click a link, and then talk or chat with your therapist who you can actually see via video-audio-conferencing, audio-conferencing, or just chat. Sometimes you can also communicate via email for routine questions that do not involve ongoing therapy.

As easy as it is to see an online therapist at an E clinic it is important to watch out for a few red flags:

1. First, if your therapist charges per minute do not see a therapist using that E clinic. They should charged per half hour or hour as it is unethical and unprofessional to charge people who already are having problems concentrating and thinking per minute because it is just simply hard to calculate how much you will pay at the end of your session. Sometimes when you are having psychological difficulties you just want to talk forever or just can't tell how fast time goes by.

2. Second, if your therapist gets publicly rated and reviewed stay away from that online therapy center. The reason is that mental health professionals deal with clients who may be angry today because of the therapy process and happy tomorrow. Also, if an online therapist is being rated, he or she may simply feel that to attract other clients he must make you happy and this is not how therapy works. The truth sometimes hurt but leads you to better mental health.

3. Third, if you can see an online therapist from another State and this online therapist is not licensed in your State he or she is practicing against the law and professional standards. This is extremely important. If the E clinic allows or encourages therapists to see clients from States where they are not licensed or insured, the center is engaging in unethical and unprofessional behavior. Believe it or not, some centers offer online therapists "time zone conversions" to make it easier for them to see clients in other Time Zone States.

4. Fourth, if you cannot see the therapists license number, you cannot call or check online with the State Licensing Board to make sure that their license is in good status.

5. Fifth, if the therapists cannot guarantee you that they are insured, you cannot take them to court for negligence or malpractice as it is your legal right in the USA.

6. Your selected E clinic should offer a wide variety of ways to contact your online therapist: just chatting is not enough because you may need something different from the next person.

7. The E clinic you selected only works with dedicated web servers as opposed to virtual web servers. A web server is a hard drive mini computer where all of your information will be maintained. A dedicated web server only has information related to the E clinic you visit while a virtual web server shares the space with thousands or millions of other businesses! So, it is more secured to use a web server owned only to service the E clinic you chose.

This is the reason it is not recommended or it can be unethical to use services such as Skype or Windows Live Messenger because these services use virtual web servers since they provide services to the public in general and therefore were not create to maintain confidentiality/privacy.