Therapeutic boundaries in telepsychology: Unique issues and best practice recommendations

  • Drum K
  • Littleton H
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Technology-assisted mental health services are becoming much more routinely utilized by clients and practitioners alike. Clinicians practicing telepsychology must prepare themselves in order to provide competent care in this ever-evolving context of service delivery. Although much has been written with regards to considerations of ethical and legal practice, practical and logistical guidelines, and the advantages and disadvantages of the delivery of services via the use of technology, little to no attention has been paid to issues related to therapeutic boundaries in the telepsychology relationship. Clinicians must consider how to maintain appropriate boundaries in telepsychology settings in order to prevent harm and optimize treatment gains. Such considerations are also necessary given that it is probable that the telepsychology clinician will encounter novel boundary issues that are unlikely to occur in the traditional face-to-face therapy setting. We discuss the clinical utility of boundaries, potential boundary issues in telepsychology settings, and suggested best practice recommendations to ensure competent, ethical, and efficacious treatment in this novel context of service delivery.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Internet therapy
  • Online therapy
  • Telehealth
  • Telepsychology
  • Therapeutic boundaries

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