A Practical Guide to Providing Telepsychology with Minimal Risk

Presenters: Eric Harris, Ed.D., J.D.; Alex Siegel, J.D., Ph.D.; Mary Alvord, Ph.D.

Whether psychologists decide to establish a telepsychology practice or not, there are situations which most psychologists face in their practices which require a knowledge of the essentials of safe, ethical and effective practice. This session will provide those essentials and address situations such as how to deal with college students who are returning to school in another state or are planning a semester overseas; difficult divorce situations where parents live in different jurisdictions; short- and long-term changes in locations by clients as well as those who can no longer come to the office in person; and requests to practice internationally. Other topics on the use of telepsychology for private coaching services, requests for specialty services in places where they are not available, and requests by difficult and high-risk clients will be addressed.

This presentation will focus on the challenges and practical solutions to real telepsychology situations that have been presented to The Trust’s Advocate 800 Program’s risk management consultation service and will include insights and practical guidance from a psychologist who actively uses telepsychology in her practice. We’ll examine the existing laws and guidelines for providing such services and what changes one can project in the immediate future.

Learning Objectives

  • Demonstrate the basic skills necessary to provide remote video conferencing services.
  • Identify ethical, legal, and disciplinary trends in the field of telepsychology and how to apply them to challenging, real-life cases.
  • Explain the basic telepsychology risk management skills, including how to decide when it is prudent to provide remote professional services and how to minimize risk through consultation, documentation and case selection.
  • Describe the PSYPACT consortium, including what it is, the requirements for participation, what states currently participate or are likely to in the near future, and how differences in state legal approaches will be resolved.