Wyoming Mental Health Professions Licensing Board
Rules and Regulations have been adopted by the Board and filed with the Secretary of State's Office effective December 16, 2020.
AMERICAN COUNSELING ASSOCIATION CODE OF ETHICS
Section H Distance Counseling, Technology, and Social Media
"Counselors understand that the profession of counseling may no longer be limited to in-person, face-to-face interactions. Counselors actively attempt to understand the evolving nature of the profession with regard to distance counseling, technology, and social media and how such resources may be used to better serve their clients. Counselors strive to become knowledgeable about these resources. Counselors understand the additional concerns related to the use of distance counseling, technology, and social media and make every attempt to protect confidentiality and meet any legal and ethical requirements for the use of such resources.
H.1. Knowledge and Legal Considerations
H.1.a. Knowledge and Competency
Counselors who engage in the use of distance counseling, technology, and/ or social media develop knowledge and
skills regarding related technical, ethical, and legal considerations (e.g., special certifications, additional course work).
H.1.b. Laws and Statutes
Counselors who engage in the use of distance counseling, technology, and social media within their counseling practice understand that they may be subject to laws and regulations of both the counselor’s practicing location and the client’s place of residence. Counselors ensure that their clients are aware of pertinent legal rights and limitations governing the practice of counseling across state lines or international boundaries.
H.2. Informed Consent and Security
H.2.a. Informed Consent and Disclosure
Clients have the freedom to choose whether to use distance counseling, social media, and/or technology within the counseling process. In addition to the usual and customary protocol of informed consent between counselor and client for face-to-face counseling, the following issues, unique to the use of distance counseling, technology, and/ or social media, are addressed in the informed consent process:
- distance counseling credentials, physical location of practice, and contact information;
- risks and benefits of engaging in the use of distance counseling, technology, and/or social media;
- possibility of technology failure and alternate methods of service delivery;
- anticipated response time;
- emergency procedures to follow when the counselor is not available;
- time zone differences;
- cultural and/or language differences that may affect delivery of services;
- possible denial of insurance benefits; and
- social media policy.
H.2.b. Confidentiality Maintained by the Counselor
Counselors acknowledge the limitations of maintaining the confidentiality of electronic records and transmissions.
They inform clients that individuals might have authorized or unauthorized access to such records or transmissions
(e.g., colleagues, supervisors, employees, information technologists).
H.2.c. Acknowledgment of Limitations
Counselors inform clients about the inherent limits of confidentiality when using technology. Counselors urge
clients to be aware of authorized and/or unauthorized access to information disclosed using this medium in the
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.
H.3. Client Verification
Counselors who engage in the use of distance counseling, technology, and/or social media to interact with clients
take steps to verify the client’s identity at the beginning and throughout the therapeutic process. Verification can
include, but is not limited to, using code words, numbers, graphics, or other nondescript identifiers.
H.4. Distance Counseling Relationship
H.4.a. Benefits and Limitations
Counselors inform clients of the benefits and limitations of using technology applications in the provision of counseling services. Such technologies include, but are not limited to, computer hardware and/or software, telephones and applications, social media and Internet-based applications and other audio and/or video communication, or data storage devices or media.
H.4.b. Professional Boundaries in Distance Counseling
Counselors understand the necessity of maintaining a professional relationship with their clients. Counselors discuss and establish professional boundaries with clients regarding the appropriate use and/or application of technology and the limitations of its use within the counseling relationship (e.g., lack of confidentiality, times when not appropriate to use).
H.4.c. Technology-Assisted Services
When providing technology-assisted services, counselors make reasonable efforts to determine that clients are intellectually, emotionally, physically, linguistically, and functionally capable of using the application and that the application is appropriate for the needs of the client. Counselors verify that clients understand the purpose and operation of technology applications and follow up with clients to correct possible misconceptions, discover appropriate use, and assess subsequent steps.
H.4.d. Effectiveness of Services
When distance counseling services are deemed ineffective by the counselor or client, counselors consider delivering
services face-to-face. If the counselor is not able to provide face-to-face services (e.g., lives in another state), the counselor assists the client in identifying appropriate services."
Telemental health is not a separate service from mental health services. All state licensing boards require that licensed clinicians follow all the regulations for practicing under their license no matter what medium of communication is used. All licensing boards also require that clinicians only practice within the boundaries of their competence. This usually requires education, continuing education, and/or supervision in telemental health. Complete our telehealth training program to cover all the essential competencies of providing telemental health services and earn the THTC (Telemental Health Training Certificate).