I recently consulted with a therapist who resides in another country. He offers online therapy/consult services to individuals in the United States. His referrals come from health practitioners here in the U.S. so he receives the referral, provides the requested service to the patient and sends recommendations to the health practitioner.
Recently, one steady referral source contacted him and said that he could no longer refer patients because the service was being conducted online. I suggested the therapist write a letter/email explaining that on his end, there is no law restricting online therapy, and to his knowledge, no law exists in the health practitioner’s state either. I suggested explaining that online therapy is not a new, untested modality but rather, another way to deliver a service. Therapy can be delivered via technology.
But this goes back to what I always say in training- even if you reside in a country or state that has no ruling about online therapy or telehealth practice, be sure to check with the country or state your potential client resides in. While various countries have no concern about practicing across borders, the U.S. does and good practice says check first. I think global telehealth will increase in the coming years and hopefully U.S. states will not legislate online therapy and telehealth into a corner that will seem obsolete and out-dated soon after a ruling is passed.
But for now, it is what it is…so check the jurisdiction in the geographical area where your potential client lives. In the meantime, if you are aware of laws or ethics pertaining to your own geographic region, please consider joining our wiki and adding the information!