Telepsychology & TeleMental Health 101: Clinical, Ethical and Legal Considerations of Online Psychotherapy

Online Course Materials:    AudiosVideos   ArticlesArticles   

All materials are available as audios with transcripts.

Developed by Michael Donner, Ph.D.

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Course fulfills, fully or in part, the Ethics & Law requirements for psychologists in CA and for psychologists, social workers, counselors, and addiction counselors in other states. Verify requirements with your state board.

General Course Description

Most discussions of telepsychology focus on the important technology and states’ law issues relevant to TeleMental Health or TelePsychology. What often gets lost in the discussions or teachings of TeleMental health is the nature of the relationships between the patient and the therapist in these online settings. Regardless of the modality (phone, video, on the couch or face to face), we should always be thinking about how the highly important aspects of the therapeutic relationship and the therapeutic work itself are affected by the (digital) modality.

This introductory-intermediate course is composed of 2 hours of audio interview (text transcripts are available) and is suitable for clinicians who are or are considering providing clinical services using the phone or Internet. While the course covers some of the basics of the technology and ethical practice online, the main focus of the course is on the clinical aspects of the online therapy or TelePsychology. Additional resources and references are provided for further study, but they are not part of the course.

Educational Objectives:

  • Apply existing principles of ethical psychotherapy to telephone or other internet-based modes of psychotherapy.
  • Analyze the use of email and texting in psychotherapy and discuss the risks and benefits when using email and text messaging.
  • Identify some forms of transference and countertransference that may arise when the patient is not in the office and treatment is occurring over the phone or the internet.


  • Campbell, L.F., Millán, F.A., & Martin, J.N. (2018). A telepsychology casebook: Using technology ethically and effectively in your professional practice. Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association.
  • Gerald, M. (2011). The psychoanalytic office: Past, present, and future. Psychoanalytic Psychology, 28(3), 435.

Course Syllabus:

  • What is TeleMental Health, online psychotherapy and telepsychology
  • How HIPAA privacy standards apply to the wide range of technologies available on the internet (Skype, FaceTime, Zoom etc)
  • Texting, email and social media. Is it appropriate to use these modalities in Telepsychology, Tele-mental health and online internet-based psychotherapy?
  • Considerations for the “Frame” when the patient is being seen online
  • The psychological aspects of being in different locations
  • Crossing State Lines
  • What may be gained and what may be lost clinically when engaging in tele-psychology
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Cost: $24.00

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