Online Counselling – Legality & Responsibility

Online Counselling Legality

With the advent of several new online counselling services, there are new questions being raised about the level of responsibility these services have to the customers and their service providers.  When people with depression or anxiety seek mental health support they are often at a stage where they are somewhat desperate for help.

Depression Counselling
Depression Counselling

This desperation can leave them vulnerable to the practices of online counsellors that don’t necessarily have their best interestes at heart.  If you look at the state of mental health in Australia, there are 2 types of services.  The free online counselling services and the paid online counselling services.  A closer look at the levels of training that a counsellor working at one of these services may have experienced shows that the counsellor’s qualifications and levels of experience can vary wildy.

How can a consumer of online counselling be sure that they’re going to get the mental health support they need from their online counsellor?  There is no definitive answer to this question, except to say that they individual seeking psychotherapy needs to do some research to determine if the service is suitable for their needs.  Quite often reviews for online counselling services can be found on the web from others who’ve used the service previously.

What About The Security of Online Counselling?

Online Counselling Service Security
Online Counselling Service Security

This is a big concern going forward and needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.  Many online counsellors are simply using Skype to conduct online counselling sessions.  It may seem adequate, but the facts are that these conversations are not private and therefore can’t be used under HIPAA. Some online counselling websites have proprietary video counselling and chat counselling systems of their own.  We can’t say anything in regards to these systems without an in depth audit of those systems themselves.

What Types of Mental Health Professionals Offer Online Counselling?

There are generally 2 types of mental health professionals that offer online counselling.  Online Psychologists and online Counsellors.  The requirements for qualification differ a lot.  In Australia with a minimal amount of education you can become a qualified counsellor.  To become a Psychologist requires at least 3-4 Years worth of University education and supervision.  The interesting part is the person experiencing grief or anger management issues doesn’t know the difference and often doesn’t mind providing they find a good fit with their Psychologist or Counsellor.  In order to practice both of these mental health professions require a varety of insurances to cover their varying needs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *