For all behavioral health professionals.
30-1 TELETHERAPY POLICY – GUIDANCE REGARDING PSYCHOTHERAPY THROUGH ELECTRONIC MEANS WITHIN THE STATE OF COLORADO
When listed, certified, registered, or licensed and treating clients within the State of Colorado, it is at the discretion of the mental health professional as to the type of modality of treatment format that is appropriate for the client. Regardless of the modality chosen, the mental health professional must comply with all provisions as outlined in the Mental Health Practice Act, Title 12 Article 43.
It is recommended that the initial therapeutic contact be in person and adequate to provide a conclusive diagnosis and therapeutic treatment plan prior to implementing any psychotherapy through electronic means. The mental health professional is expected to establish an ongoing therapeutic relationship including face-to-face visits on a periodic basis thereafter.
Once a mental health professional chooses to provide psychotherapy via electronic means, the mental health professional is expected to carefully identify and address issues that involve:
1) The agreed-upon therapeutic means of communication between the client and the mental health professional. (i.e. when will face-to-face contact be appropriate, what method(s) of electronic communication will be utilized, what is the structure of the contractual relationship);
2) Implementing written consent form(s) and proper disclosure(s) including, but not limited to the client’s knowledge regarding security issues, confidentiality, structure, etc.;
3) Ensuring that the therapeutic means of communication includes confidentiality and computer/cyber security;
4) Determining the basis and ability for the mental health professional to support the rationale for the decision to choose a particular therapeutic method;
5) Ensuring that the mental health professional is practicing within his/her scope of practice;
6) Ensuring that the therapeutic means of communication that is chosen does not cause any potential harm to the client.
The mental health professional may encounter specific challenges while providing psychotherapy through electronic means. The mental health professional must realize that these challenges may include, but are not limited to:
1) Verifying the identity of the client and determining if they are a minor;
2) Providing the client with procedures for alternative modes of communication when there is possible technology failure;
3) Assessing how to cope with potential misunderstandings when the visual cues that would normally occur during face-to-face visits do not exist;
4) Assessing how to address crisis intervention when necessary;
5) Ensuring that clients are knowledgeable with regard to encryption methods, firewall, and backup systems to help secure communication and educate clients on the risk of unsecured communications;
6) Establishing a means to retain and preserve data;
7) Upon request, have the ability to capture and provide client treatment notes, summaries or other information that is received via the electronic technology;
8) Disclosing that health insurance coverage may not exist for psychotherapy service that is provided through technological means.
This policy applies only to mental health professionals who are certified, registered, or licensed, and treating clients within the State of Colorado.
Date Adopted by Program:
12/13/11 – State Board of Addiction Counselor Examiners 04/22/2011 – State Grievance Board
03/18/2011 – State Board of Licensed Professional Counselor Examiners
02/25/11 State Board of Marriage & Family Therapist Examiners 04/8/2011 – State Board of Psychologist Examiners
01/28/11 State Board of Social Work Examiners
Date Revised by Program:
02/02/18 - State Board of Psychologist Examiners
01/26/18 - State Board of Social Work Examiners
01/19/18 - State Board of Marriage and Family Therapist Examiners
01/05/18 - State Board of Licensed Professional Counselor Examiners
12/15/17 - State Board of Registered Psychotherapists
11/28/17 - State Board of Addiction Counselor Examiners
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).