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Tele-therapy, Online counselling...

Updated: Jul 6, 2020

... telehealth, telepsychology, distance therapy, eCounselling? Simply put to receive counselling, therapy, clinical service in a distance and not face-to-face, in-person

What (else) do you need to know?

People choose tele-therapy for many reasons - time or transport constrains, being unable to leaving home easily or at all, or having difficulties to talk about their issues in a face-to-face setting. There are a few more things to consider and many people benefit from receiving therapy in this way.

The different forms of tele-therapy

  • Email: Exchanging emails with a therapist and usually with agreed time/day to receive and expect a response from the therapist.

  • Instant message (IM): using instant rely chat in real time at a time that is agreed.

  • Telephone: the longest form of therapy around and still an option today. This can also take place in video-call session or when internet connection becomes unstable.

  • Video call or webcam: most similar to a face-to-face, in-person therapy using video camera on a computer or device.

Professional online therapist

  • Use site, app or communication platforms that is secure, safeguard your information, ensuring confidentiality and privacy online i.e. PDPA (Singapore), HIPAA (U.S), DPA (U.K), TPA (Aus) compliant;

  • Undergone training to work online, and subscribe to appropriate ethical guidelines;

  • Assess and advise the suitability in using online therapy based on the issue and need

Working online involves a distinct set of ethical challenges – some similar to working face to face and others unique to this way of communicating with clients at a distance. To help therapists make informed ethical decisions when working online, they would also consider:

  • Variations in use of online and digital technology

  • Technological competence

  • Security and confidentiality

  • Responding to any breach of security or privacy

  • Working with vulnerable clients and arrangements for emergencies

  • Legal requirements for working in country of practice

  • Working with clients from other countries

  • Online social forums for clients

  • Online information and interactive tools

  • Insurance

  • Supervision and training

  • Personal use of social media by practitioners

  • Professional vigilance

  • Useful resources for clients

  • Professional development including keeping up with evolving digital world to maintain best practice, update services or upgrade security etc.


More articles:

What you need to know before choosing online therapy

- American Psychological Association

"Some sites advertise that they offer therapy, but those claims may be misleading or false. For example, the people behind the apps may not be licensed or qualified to provide therapy."

Become an informed consumer of telepsychology services—learn factors to take into account when considering online therapy and explore additional resources.

Created October 7, 2015. Source:

Teletherapy: How it works

- Medical News Today

"Teletherapy is mental health counseling over the phone or online. As videoconferencing software improves, more therapists are incorporating this form of virtual mental health support into their practice. Teletherapy can be convenient for both the client and the therapist. Most research suggests that it works just as well as in-person counseling."

Medically reviewed by Cynthia Taylor Chavoustie, MPAS, PA-C — Written by Zawn Villines on April 20, 2020. Source:

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