Is Online Counseling Secure?

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Privacy and security are very valid concerns in regard to online counseling and must be taken into consideration with the utmost seriousness.  To ensure that I am up-to-date on technology security, ethics in online counseling, and how to handle these challenges, I have participated in 15 credit hours of continuing education in these areas.  In addition, I passed 2 credentialing exams to obtain my Distance Credentialed Counseling license.  As a licensed clinician, it is essential that I do everything that I can to protect your confidential information in sessions as well as your personal health information (PHI) from a HIPAA standpoint.  In order to accomplish this, I only utilize services that will sign a Business Associate Agreement (BAA) contract to ensure that all entities who transmit information maintain PHI security and overall HIPAA compliance.  

For all video, phone, & email-based counseling services, I utilize an encrypted web based portal which has been endorsed by several reputable telemental health research organizations due to its compliance with HIPAA and secure encryption of messages. In addition, your messages will require an extra password to open in order to add an additional level of security and privacy in case your phone is stolen or someone tries to read our confidential messages.  

What steps can you take to protect your privacy in online counseling?  It is important to consider your environment for our phone or video sessions.  I recommend that you select a private environment where you are completely alone during our sessions to ensure that your video or call is not overheard.  I take the same precautions on my end as well to protect your privacy.  I also recommend that clients keep their devices safe, password protect their phone and devices, and decline email receipts for our sessions.  

Do you have additional questions about the security and privacy of online counseling?  If so, contact me via my website.

For more information and considerations:

Talk soon, Wendy