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Online (Virtual) Counselling: Security & Confidentiality

Dr. Joti Samra

October 31, 2019

Resiliency

Online (virtual) counselling provides people with a unique opportunity to easily and efficiently access therapy sessions from the comfort of their own home. In some cases, it may encourage people to seek support who may not otherwise – because of a busy life and logistical demands. We talk more in-depth about the benefits of virtual therapy in another article.

Though having a therapy session from the comfort of your own couch is appealing to many, it also brings up natural concerns around security and confidentiality. Security and confidentiality are both important aspects of therapy so it is a good thing to be thinking about when considering virtual sessions. At Dr. Joti Samra, R.Psych. & associates, security and confidentiality are very important to us and here we will discuss how we approach these topics in our practice.

Confidentiality

Confidentiality, for anyone who has not previously been to therapy, is a critical aspect of the therapeutic relationship. Best practice and ethical guidelines for psychologists and counsellors are very clear that information between a client and a therapist cannot be shared with anyone, barring any concerns of safety or acute risk. Confidentiality is an important part of therapy as it ensures that people are comfortable sharing personal details about their lives without fear of that information being shared elsewhere. Before starting therapy, the therapist ensures that the client understands what confidentiality means, as well as what the limits to confidentiality are and an informed consent form is signed.

Just because virtual counselling services are conducted online does not mean they cannot be held to the same standards. We are committed to protecting our patients’ privacy and ensuring that our telehealth services meet the standards for psychological health services via telecommunications, as set out by the Canadian Psychological Association. This includes ensuring that information is kept confidential and that clients are fully understanding and providing informed consent to treatment.

Security in Telehealth Services

When it comes to online services it is impossible to completely mitigate security risk, but it is important that everyone understands the risks before making a choice.

We utilize encrypted secure platforms for the storage of all clinical and identifying information (client’s name, personal information, and clinical charts). We are happy to ensure our clients are comfortable with the process and welcome any questions or concerns about how we approach security.

Are you ready to book your online (virtual) therapy session? If so, get it touch! We’re also happy to provide more information if you have any questions.

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