The BACP Guidelines for Online Counselling and Psychotherapy are now in their 3rd Edition (Anthony & Goss, 2009 – see also Goss et al., 2001; Anthony & Jamieson, 2005) and now the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy have revised and amended the main Ethical Framework to reflect this (the full link is below, with references).
This embraces the importance of recognising online therapy – and indeed the function of technology in general – as a vital component of the profession.
The new Ethical Framework states:
Variations in client needs and the diversity of settings within which counselling and psychotherapyservices are delivered have also been carefully considered. Clients vary in their requirements in order tocommunicate effectively and to gain access to services. Ethically aware services strive to meet theseneeds and to avoid excluding someone from receiving a service or lowering the quality of that servicesolely on the grounds of a client’s learning difficulty or physical disability. Services may be provided bythe independent practitioner working alone, one or more practitioners working to provide a service withinan agency or large organisation, specialists working in multidisciplinary teams, and by specialist teamsof counsellors and psychotherapists. Most work is undertaken face to face but there are also a growingnumber of telephone and online services. Some practitioners are moving between these different settingsand modes of delivery during the course of their work and are therefore required to consider whatconstitutes good practice in different settings. All practitioners encounter the challenge of responding tothe diversity of their clients and finding ways of working effectively with them. This statement thereforeresponds to the complexity of delivering counselling and psychotherapy services in contemporary societyby directing attention to significant issues that practitioners ought to consider and resolve in the specificcircumstances of their work.
The Online Therapy Institute embraces this amendment, as the work of BACP remains the basis of part of our own Ethical Framework for the Use of Technology in Mental Health (https://www.onlinetherapyinstitute.com/ethical-training/).
Goss, S., Anthony, K., Jamieson, A. and Palmer, S. (2001) Guidelines for Online Counselling and Psychotherapy. Rugby: BACP.
Anthony, K. & Jamieson, A. (2005) Guidelines for Online Counselling and Psychotherapy 2nd Edition, including Guidelines for Online Supervision. Rugby: BACP.
Anthony, K. & Goss, S. (2009) Guidelines for Online Counselling and Psychotherapy 3rd Edition, including Guidelines for Online Supervision. Rugby: BACP.