Making Sense of Online Psych Services

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So what are we to make of social media and online therapy in our profession?  Many are choosing to discount or discredit both altogether.  They don’t like what they see.  “It’s no place for a true clinician.”

But like it or not, the lines between cyberspace and mental health treatment are beginning to intersect.  It’s an inevitable progression that will only intensify as the years pass.

There will be a lot of debate within our profession as social media begins to play more of a role in the lives of those we serve.  And no matter what your current view, it’s important to stay ahead of the curve with this ever evolving medium.

In the coming years there will be difficult issues to discuss, but they must and will be addressed.  Right now there are practitioners and organizations beginning to explore key issues pertaining to ethics, confidentiality, boundaries, and quality of care.

Below are useful links that will help you find your place online!

Ethics, the Law, and Online Mental Health

Social Media & Mental Health

Are you becoming involved in social media as a way to market your services?  These resources will help!

Associations & Organizations

The organizations listed below are helping to shape the world of online counseling and social media.  Both of these institutions have numerous articles worth reading.

Great Videos on Telehealth Here

The Tele-Mental Health Institute offers some interesting videos on informed consent, ethics and telehealth in general.  Take a look here.



  1. Brenda Bomgardner  October 26, 2010

    Although I am using social media, I am cautious and sometimes worry about the implications professionally. However, I believe it is here to stay and will continue to be a growing force among the general population.

  2. Tammy  October 27, 2010

    David, thanks for sharing these links to resources that are so helpful as we continue this transition! Great post!

  3. Jeffrey Nigro  October 27, 2010

    Thanks for the great links…I agree that as social networks become a regular part of people’s lives that to stay in the mix we need to be aware of the opportunities AND the risks. I am certain I am not the only clinician that has encountered several patients for whom “on-line friends” are the only ones that they have, and even those that have “real” friends spend enormous amounts of time keeping up with people all over the globe (many of whom they are unlikely to ever meet FTF).

    At this time, I find the “on-line session” useful with patients I have been seeing FTF already: a stop-gap measure for missed appointments or scheduling issues. While “Skyping” may be okay and certainly beats the phone or typing, I do not believe (yet?) that I have the same impact as when the patient is sitting in front of me making genuine eye contact nor does it fill in the gap for all the information we as clinicians are tuned into: body language, nuances in rate, volume & tone in speech, etc.

  4. Lynn Schlossberger  October 31, 2010

    Thanks for making an opportunity for professional dialog on the undeniable impact of social media, in the counseling arena as in every other. We are all having to innovate as we attempt to meet people where they are. My background in a crisis center, working over the phone with people in acute distress, I think, has given me confidence that barriers related to technology can be overcome.

    One of my experiments, for which I’d love feedback, has been to add a blog to my counseling website, to discuss these issues and others: not just how counseling can be responsive, but exploring how our lives are changing as we incorporate social media. The blog is at

  5. David Diana  November 2, 2010

    I agree Brenda. My guess is it is hear to stay. I just hope to have a say in what it becomes so the services are of the highest quality possible!

  6. David Diana  November 2, 2010

    Anytime Tammy. I’ll keep my eye out for good work being done in this realm. And please, everyone, feel free to share with us if you find something on this topic.

  7. David Diana  November 2, 2010

    Very interesting points Jeffrey. I am also struggling with the power of the energy from a face to face encounter versus an online one. But I am also curious as to the power this new technology holds in terms of who you can reach.

  8. David Diana  November 2, 2010

    I think your Blog looks great Lynn. I suggest you go to and sign up to get their articles. They offer great writing tips and blogging tips. It is very well done!

  9. Tamara G. Suttle, M.Ed., LPC  March 1, 2011

    David, another very useful post! Thanks so much for compiling such a useful list of links in one spot! I’m happy to link to your post!

    Will you be heading to ACA’s Annual Conference at the end of the month? Would love to meet face to face.

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