Legal & Ethical Issues with Advertising and Online Counseling

1385 Words 6 Pages
Since the end of World War 2, the technology one sees around them and uses everyday has grown exponentially. In the field of counseling, phones, fax machines, copiers, and computers are all used to run everyday operations and transfer information. Despite how great technology can be, ethical issues can arise because of it. For example, talking on the phone with a client in a crisis situation can create a condition in which confidentiality can be breeched. (McMinn, 1999).
One new way in which technology has been used to extend the services of the counseling field is through online counseling. According to Corey (2011), online counseling can be beneficial because some consumers want brief and anonymous therapy, some clients who are
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LaCombe’s online counseling business and advertising.
The first ethical issue with this online counseling venture is the fact that it is labeled as an online counseling program for people in crisis, but one does not need to provide their name to get therapy. This breaks two ethical codes found in the American Counseling Association’s Code of Ethics (2005). The first one is ACA: A.1.a which cites that as a counselor, one is responsible for the welfare of the client’s and promoting that welfare. The second one is A.12.c which states that counselors should avoid using technology assisted counseling services when it would be better or more appropriate to use face to face services (ACA, 2005). If a suicidal individual goes on Dr. LaCombe’s site and let’s their online therapist know, how is said therapist supposed to get that individual help if they do not know their name? In addition, it may be more appropriate to help people in crisis in person as opposed to over the internet.
Secondly, according to Corey (2011), many online counseling providers do not have an intake procedure, a confidentiality waiver, or informed consent write up. Dr. LaCombe’s site does not have an intake procedure or confidentiality waiver. Her website has some aspects of informed consent such as a statement about live counseling versus online counseling and payment. That said she does not talk about the
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