(Rule 0450-02-.13, continued)
April, 2020 (Revised) 28
“(4) In addition to the other requirements of this rule, all licensees and certificate holders who
practice marital and family therapy electronically shall comply with the Online Ethical
Advisory Opinions adopted by the AAMFT, www.aamft.org, except to the extent that they
conflict with the laws of the state of Tennessee or the rules of the Board. If the standards for
the ethical practice of marital and family therapy over the Internet conflict with state law or
rules, the state law or rules govern the matter. Violation of the standards for the ethical
practice of marital and family therapy over the Internet or state law or rules may subject a
licensee or certificate holder to disciplinary action.”
“Section H Distance Counseling, Technology, and Social Media Introduction 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 counseling process. H.2.d. Security 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”
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).