Distance Counseling, Technology, and Social Media Information
In response to the increased use of social media and technology within the counseling profession, state licensure boards continue to develop rules and regulations regarding distance counseling. It should be noted, however, that these guidelines are in their initial stages of development and are therefore changing rapidly; always check with your specific state for comprehensive guidelines before engaging in any distance counseling activities.
- Nineteen (19) states (Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Ohio, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia) do regulate electronic communications for counselors, but only within their particular state. The general rule is that to practice distance counseling in these states, the counselor must be licensed and follow the regulations of that state. Colorado makes the recommendation that the first session should be face-to-face and to meet periodically face-to-face with the client.
- Nineteen (19) state counseling boards (Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington and Wyoming) and the District of Columbia report an absence of any law, rule, or regulation addressing the use of the internet with clients.It is therefore assumed that these states treat electronic messages between counselor and client the same way that they treat face-to-face communication.
- One (1) state, Arkansas, has an addendum to its licensure requirements specifically geared towards technology assisted therapy: The Technology Assisted Counseling Specialization license requires additional education and supervision.
- Six (6) states (Maryland, New Mexico, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia and Indiana) specifically state that they do not support electronic communications under their scope of practice for professional counselors.
- One (1) state (Kansas) allows distance supervision provided that the supervision is conducted via confidential electronic communications.
- One (1) state (Louisiana) allows for 25 of the required 100 clinical supervision hours to be conducted via videoconferencing.
- One (1) state (North Carolina) allows video supervision as long as it is synchronous.
- One (1) state (Indiana) allows at least half of their continuing education hours to be taken online and/or through distance learning.
- One (1) state (Idaho) proposed to change their board duties to include: proposed - To establish by rule the standards and requirements for the use of communication technology in the practice of counseling and marriage and family therapy, including supervision; interactive webinars permitted.
- Iowa, Ohio, and South Carolina consider distance learning continuing education hours as live continuing education hours if they are interactive (Iowa requires a certificate/verification that the CE is offered by NBCC, CRCC, AAMT as well).
- As of July 20, 2012, Colorado allows electronic supervision. The initial two hour supervision meeting must be face-to-face and supervisor and supervisee must meet face-to-face every 6 months. Electronic supervision must be audio and visual in nature.