Week 9 Response to Classmates

I have included 3 classmate discussions.

 

Respond by Day 5 and expand on your colleague’s posting by providing an alternate position for integrating technology into delivering counseling services. Propose a potential scenario where the use of technology in managing counseling services represents an ethical violation and provide your colleague with a potential solution for eliminating repeated violations.

 

1. M.Beau– My position

I am not comfortable in using technology because it is not secure and client’s confidential information could be compromised. If this was not the case why is it that so many client’s records, personal information from hospital, banks and credit card companies have been compromised.  It will be very difficult to clear a person’s credit because once that information is in someone’s hand the damage has been done. To avoid an issue a therapist should use encryption to protect the privacy of their clients.  According to the ACA Code, in Standard.  H.2.d . (ACA, 2014)   states,  counselors use current encryption standards within their websites and/or technology-based communications that meet applicable legal requirements. Counselors take reasonable precautions to ensure the confidentiality of information transmitted through any electronic means.

Much of our work with clients involves expressing themselves and how they communicate with others.  The reality is that we live in the 20th century and as a future therapist, I must learn to embrace technology to be in a much better position to meet my client’s needs. Some college students don’t feel comfortable having a face to face session with the counselor and would rather opt to communicating virtually. It is important for therapist to be aware of the ways people are connecting and communicating with one another in this era.  Bradley and Hendricks noted,  the past three decades, and especially the last decade, have produced enormous advances in technology (p.267). Furthermore, the advantages of the technologies will make therapy accessible to clients that live in remote areas.

One ethical technology violation and challenge

Informed consent poses an ethical challenge especially if the therapist has not never met with the client in person and have been afforded the opportunity to speak with them about informed consent. There is no guarantee that the information the client sends via email will be protected.  It would beneficial for the therapist to meet the client in person and obtain the informed consent and provide the client with written disclosure statements. Herlihy and Remley (2016) stated, “beyond legal requirements, however, we believe it is best practice to provide clients with written information about the counseling relationship before the relationship begins” (p. 96).

Technology counseling is conducted many ways via internet, email, telephone or other applications so there are no exceptions to rule of having an excuse to protect client’s information. Therefore, counselors must be in compliant with all laws in both their state or jurisdiction and the client’s which implies the laws that apply to Texas may not apply in New Jersey.  Counselors could face the possibility of facing a law suit when they don’t comply with the laws.

One ethical technology implication

Banks have implemented policies and procedures to protect the privacy of their clients therefore, counselors should also have ways of authenticating their clients so that their information is not compromised. It is difficult to establish a client’s identity as they could be using an alias or a minor.   It is an ethical and legal violation to provide counseling to a minor without parental consent. You might ask how could I verify the identity of clients when you are not able to see them?  Best practices would be to provide the client with a password so they are able to access your link for counseling.  According to the ACA Code, in Standard.  H.5.c . (ACA, 2014)   indicated, counselors regularly ensure that electronic links are working and are professionally appropriate.

  References:

Bradley, L. J., & Hendricks, B. (2009). E-mail and ethical issues. The Family Journal, 17(3), 267-271. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

American Counseling Association Code of Ethics (2014) retrieved from  http://www.counseling.org/docs/ethics/2014-aca-code-of-ethics.pdf?sfvrsn=4

Remley, T. P., Jr., & Herlihy, B. (2016). Ethical, legal, and professional issues in counseling (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson

 

2. T.Bin– Ethical and Legal Challenges

Technology is often used to communicate whether through text, email, video, or social media. Technology has begun to integrate into the medical world as a form of communication. Yet, the dangers of integrating technology into the counseling world poses threats to confidentiality and miscommunication. In regards to confidentiality, counselors are required by the American Counseling Association in Section H.2.d to stay updated on legally required encryptions (2014). 

Miscommunication can easily happen when meeting with a client that is not face-to-face. In a Pew Internet and American Life Project Polly study, “22% reported that e-mail caused misunderstandings at work” (Bradley  & Hendricks, 2009, pp. 268). E-mail is not the only form of miscommunication but texting and social media as well. Messages can easily be misinterpreted by either the client or the counselor without tone-of-voice or facial expressions.  

Personal View

Previously mentioned, technology makes it hard to understand someone’s facial expressions or tone-of-voice through e-mail, texting, or social media. Sarcastic comments can often times be misunderstood as not sarcastic over texting or e-mail unless explained as such. Also, unless a counselor’s computer has appropriate encryptions, it is easy for someone who is intending to gather specific confidential information from a client if he or she truly desired through technology. I believe that technology, specifically e-mail and texting should be used sparingly and with much discretion. Social media should never be used to make contact through a counselor or client’s personal account, but only to promote business.

References

American Counseling Association (ACA). (2014). 2014 ACA code of ethics [White Paper]. Retrieved from http://www.counseling.org/docs/default-source/ethics/2014-aca-code-of-ethics.pdf?sfvrsn=fde89426_5 

Bradley, L. J., & Hendricks, B. (2009). E-mail and ethical issues. The Family Journal, 17(3), 267-271. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

3.  R.Sow–Technology in Counseling  

Technology is an ever advancing tool in our society, however, there are both pros and cons to using it. For one,  technological  advancements help people to get things done more efficiently and  conveniently.  On  the other hand, anything that is posted online, has the potential to be  retrieved  by someone else, which can be harmful to the person who wrote the information , or whom it was intended for ( Remley  & Herlihy,  2016) .   

Ethical Violation and Challenge  

Counselors may want to check up on their clients by looking at their social media profile. This is a violation, according to the American Counseling Association, Code of Ethics (2014), because counselors are not to view their clients’ profiles without their permission. It is a general rule that counselors avoid doing this   ( Remley  & Herlihy,  2016) .    

With all of the communication that goes on with social  net working  these days, such as websites like LinkedIn.com, as a promotional avenue for one’s credentials, it can be difficult to stay within the boundaries of what is considered appropriate communication between counselors and their clients on the internet. Not only is it difficult to  guarantee  privacy, the counselor also has the responsibility to make sure clients are capable of using such  technology , and also understand the risks and benefits of distance counseling through social media  ( Remley  & Herlihy, 2016) .  

Using Technology to Manage Counseling Services/ Ethical Implications  

Working in the health care   field already, I understand the benefits of using technology, and see how it aids the providers I work  with, so much so that they have become dependent on it. I believe having access to a database, to open a client’s chart, instead of having to thumb through paper files is much more efficient. Sometimes the providers I work with use voice activated dictation  devices , which help them to document in the patient’s chart more quickly than typing. I know that in the counseling world, there is much more security and effort involved in keep client information confidential. If I were to ever get a dictation  device , I would probably need a sound proof room to do so. Fortunately, however, my typing speed has increased with all the papers, and documentation I currently do in   work and school, so I could probably  type myself, at least to start out as a new counselor.    

Sometimes, the providers I work with even have scribes to help them document. An ethical implication with this service in counseling, however, is that just like an interpreter, a scribe could be documenting though his or her own interpretation, and therefore may not be accurate with his or her case notes. It would also be difficult to guarantee a client’s confidentiality while using a scribe, even if the scribe were documenting the session via a recording. Generally, the idea I get from the code of ethics (ACA, 2014) is that a counselor’s documentation should be highly secure, and counselors must follow ethical standards of disclosing client information to even authorized  personnel .   

References  

American Counseling Association (ACA). (2014).  2014 ACA code of ethics  [White Paper] .  Retrieved from  http://www.counseling.org/docs/ethics/2014-aca-code-of-ethics.pdf?sfvrsn=4  

Remley, T. P., Jr., & Herlihy, B. (2016).  Ethical, legal, and professional issues in counseling  (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson  

 

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