Online Counseling

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The Family & Marriage Counseling Directory is privileged to now provide access to a network of therapists where anyone can get live, professional online counseling around the clock, from licensed therapists.

Never before has professional counseling been so accessible to the public. Use the listings above to see which counselors are currently available and choose the one that feels right for you. If a counselor is unavailable, in most cases you can schedule a session with them through the system.

Appropriateness of Online Counseling

The National Board of Certified Counselors identifies standards of practice for online and phone counseling. These standards are very good guidelines, but they may not be observed by members of all counseling professions. Phone counseling can be done by individuals who are state licensed by different licensing bodies. Not all licensing bodies follow NBCC guidelines for phone counseling. This does not mean that other licensing bodies are better or worse; it's just good for people to be aware that they are different. http://www.nbcc.org/webethics2
 

From the American Counseling Association:
Professional counselors develop an appropriate in-take procedure for potential clients to determine whether online / phone counseling is appropriate for the needs of the client. Professional counselors warn potential clients that online counseling services may not be appropriate in certain situations and, to the extent possible, informs the client of specific limitations, potential risks, and/or potential benefits relevant to the client's anticipated use of online or phone counseling services. Professional counselors ensure that clients are intellectually, emotionally, and physically capable of using the online counseling services, and of understanding the potential risks and/or limitations of such services.
http://www.counseling.org

Also read these guidelines and opinions of the American Psychological Association:
The American Psychological Association
http://www.apa.org/ethics/stmnt01.html

Online Counseling: Your Counselor's Background

Therapists who practice online counseling can be from many different educational backgrounds, all of which require licensure within the state that they practice. It's important that consumers know there's nothing wrong with asking if a counselor or therapist is licensed. In most states in the US, one can check professional credentials through the state's website. Many professionals in different fields require licensing, so it's become popular for states websites to have verification methods.

Here are some of the different types of phone counselors that you may find:

  • Social Workers (abbreviations usually have "SW" in the end)
  • Licensed Professional Counselors ("LPC")
  • Counselors (usually master's level clinicians will have "MA")
  • Psychologists ("Ph.D" or "Psy.D.")
  • Psychiatrists ("MD")
  • Marriage and Family Therapists ("MFT")

Consumers should also be aware that some individuals practicing counseling  can be undergoing the licensing process as an intern under supervision. Such individuals can sometimes do so while in counseling programs getting their education (usually in agencies), and also after they have received their post-graduate degree. Usually those in private practice have post-graduate degrees, but it's always good to ask. A counseling intern should make the client aware of their licensure status.

 



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