Using Technology to Manage Counseling Services/ Ethical Implications.Respond by Day 5 and expand on your colleague’s posting by providing an alternate position for integrating technology into delivering counseling services.
Respond by Day 5 and expand on your colleague’s posting by providing an alternate position for integrating technology into delivering counseling services. Propose a potential scenario where the use of technology in managing counseling services represents an ethical violation and provide your colleague with a potential solution for eliminating repeated violations.
1. M.Beau–My position
I am not comfortable in using technology because it is not secure and client’s confidential information could be compromised. If this was not the case why is it that so many client’s records, personal information from hospital, banks and credit card companies have been compromised. It will be very difficult to clear a person’s credit because once that information is in someone’s hand the damage has been done. To avoid an issue a therapist should use encryption to protect the privacy of their clients. According to the ACA Code, in Standard. H.2.d. (ACA, 2014) states, counselors use current encryption standards within their websites and/or technology-based communications that meet applicable legal requirements. Counselors take reasonable precautions to ensure the confidentiality of information transmitted through any electronic means.
Much of our work with clients involves expressing themselves and how they communicate with others. The reality is that we live in the 20th century and as a future therapist, I must learn to embrace technology to be in a much better position to meet my client’s needs. Some college students don’t feel comfortable having a face to face session with the counselor and would rather opt to communicating virtually. It is important for therapist to be aware of the ways people are connecting and communicating with one another in this era. Bradley and Hendricks noted, the past three decades, and especially the last decade, have produced enormous advances in technology (p.267). Furthermore, the advantages of the technologies will make therapy accessible to clients that live in remote areas.
One ethical technology violation and challenge
Informed consent poses an ethical challenge especially if the therapist has not never met with the client in person and have been afforded the opportunity to speak with them about informed consent. There is no guarantee that the information the client sends via email will be protected. It would beneficial for the therapist to meet the client in person and obtain the informed consent and provide the client with written disclosure statements. Herlihy and Remley (2016) stated, “beyond legal requirements, however, we believe it is best practice to provide clients with written information about the counseling relationship before the relationship begins” (p. 96).
Technology counseling is conducted many ways via internet, email, telephone or other applications so there are no exceptions to rule of having an excuse to protect client’s information. Therefore, counselors must be in compliant with all laws in both their state or jurisdiction and the client’s which implies the laws that apply to Texas may not apply in New Jersey. Counselors could face the possibility of facing a law suit when they don’t comply with the laws.
One ethical technology implication
Banks have implemented policies and procedures to protect the privacy of their clients therefore, counselors should also have ways of authenticating their clients so that their information is not compromised. It is difficult to establish a client’s identity as they could be using an alias or a minor. It is an ethical and legal violation to provide counseling to a minor without parental consent. You might ask how could I verify the identity of clients when you are not able to see them? Best practices would be to provide the client with a password so they are able to access your link for counseling. According to the ACA Code, in Standard. H.5.c. (ACA, 2014) indicated, counselors regularly ensure that electronic links are working and are professionally appropriate.
Bradley, L. J., & Hendricks, B. (2009). E-mail and ethical issues. The Family Journal, 17(3), 267-271. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
American Counseling Association Code of Ethics (2014) retrieved from http://www.counseling.org/docs/ethics/2014-aca-code-of-ethics.pdf?sfvrsn=4
Remley, T. P., Jr., & Herlihy, B. (2016). Ethical, legal, and professional issues in counseling (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson
2. T.Bin–Ethical and Legal Challenges
Technology is often used to communicate whether through text, email, video, or social media. Technology has begun to integrate into the medical world as a form of communication. Yet, the dangers of integrating technology into the counseling world poses threats to confidentiality and miscommunication. In regards to confidentiality, counselors are required by the American Counseling Association in Section H.2.d to stay updated on legally required encryptions (2014).
Miscommunication can easily happen when meeting with a client that is not face-to-face. In a Pew Internet and American Life Project Polly study, “22% reported that e-mail caused misunderstandings at work” (Bradley & Hendricks, 2009, pp. 268). E-mail is not the only form of miscommunication but texting and social media as well. Messages can easily be misinterpreted by either the client or the counselor without tone-of-voice or facial expressions.
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