Ethical Considerations you DON’T want to Ignore

Ethical Considerations you DON’T want to Ignore

Is the only thing between you and finally starting your online private practice all the ethical considerations? 

First of all, you’re not the only one.

And secondly, this can be the day you tackle your ethical considerations and start that practice!

Since launching the Ethical Considerations of Online Counseling Course over a year ago Jessica Bullock has helped many therapists move from the fear of getting sued from starting an unethical practice to stepping into their online private practice with confidence and ethical procedures in place.

Jessica has a hybrid practice, meaning she sees clients face-to-face as well as online. When she began exploring what it would look like to add online sessions to her practice anxiety kept her from growing. 


  • What if she missed something? 
  • What if she wrote something wrong?
  • What if she got sued because of something she didn’t even know?


After weeks of a stressful schedule, face-to-face clients, and four kids to keep up with she finally decided to deal with her anxiety by researching all the ins and outs of starting an ethical practice.

After successfully (and ethically) adding online sessions to her practice Jessica put together “Ethical Considerations of Online Counseling Course” to help other therapists overcome their fear, understand the ethics of online therapy, and start serving clients online with confidence!

If you have all the pieces you need to start your practice, but keep getting stuck on whether or not you have all the ethical considerations figured out, here’s three things Jessica recommends getting clear on first:

What can you do in YOUR state?

Online therapy is a relatively new addition to the field of counseling. While it’s powerful many states are still figuring out their regulations regarding online therapy because it’s so new. Instead of being intimidated, educate yourself. Being able to serve clients online not only provides you with incredible freedom, but allows you to reach people who might otherwise not receive support.

According to Jessica, here are some key points you should know the answers to:

  • Know the state or country you’re practicing from.
  • Know the policies and procedures for practicing therapy online in YOUR state.
  • Understand the difference between client and provider.

What should be included in an Informed Consent?

You’ve probably already asked yourself this question before. But today, we want you to do more than just wonder and hyperventilate because you don’t know, or worse procrastinate.

Make a list of everything you THINK should be included. Then research. I know, we already said it in this post, but doing your own homework is key to feeling confident about starting an ethical practice. 

Here’s some thoughts Jessica recommended you consider when putting together you informed consent:

  • How to show up for your session? (ie, must be fully dressed)
  • How are you going to accept payment?
  • Is it okay to keep credit card info?

In the “Ethical Considerations of Online Counseling Course” provides an Informed Consent Template and walks you through hers so you can create the best one for you and your clients.

What should you do in the case of an emergency?   

Suicide prevention is a heavy topic and a reality in our line of work. But it’s not the moment to throw in the towel and abandon helping people, it’s a moment to get educated and make a plan. Just because online therapy is, in many ways, a new field with uncharted territory doesn’t make it impassable.

Here’s a few questions from Jessica to get you started in putting together an emergency/suicide prevention plan:

  • What are questions you can ask to help your clients?
  • How will you respond in the moment?
  • What is your preventive procedure?

Don’t put off providing online therapy to help others just because your brain goes crazy with all the ethical jargon. There’s people who need the help you provide.

So, do your research. And if research still feels like too much or just too ambiguous checkout Jessica’s course. Not only does it come with an Informed Consent Template, but also a facebook group and Q&As where you can get Jessica’s expert input on your scariest ethical questions. 

Check out what people are saying about iTherapy on our Reviews page.

January 22, 2020 / iTherapy Blog

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