I had cause recently, during a meeting with a colleague I had previously met at an NHS conference in the UK, to explain to him my career thus far (since he kindly asked!). While talking to him about how I came to be co-CEO of the Online Therapy Institute and the
Online Coach Institute, he gave me pause for thought in considering what it is that drives myself and DeeAnna in providing our exclusive Directory, the only Directory that examines the ethics of the provider before inclusion.
Considering ethical values by providing our exclusive Directory service goes much deeper than simply wanting to get our name out there or enjoying finding out how organisations, individuals and companies approach their service design – it is at the very core of our work ethic. This work ethic permeates everything we do as an Institute – and indeed is one of things we recognised in each other way before we finally met face-to-face at conference in Washington 2005. It is one of the reasons DeeAnna and I click – we recognise at a basic level a need for the profession to have the best resources to hand when considering online therapy, coaching, and other forms of psychological intervention. You could say it is in the air we breathe (or the laptop keys we press).
The question that needs to be asked by every mental health service being provided online is about whether you believe in the ethical provision of mental health services at the core of your service.
Our Ethical Framework isn’t about the opinions of just two professionals (we’re not that precious). We decided that since large worldwide organisations already had various ethical guidelines, suggested principles and codes, we would take the best of each of them and pull them together, creating a framework rather than an ethics “code”. This is what we felt the current various versions of codes and guidelines was lacking – a framework that draws them all together. Our Ethical Framework for the Use of Technology in Mental Health offers the basics of the originally developed codes and guidelines of BACP, ACA, NBCC, ISMHO and EthicsCode, incorporating additions that appear in the revised ACA Code of Ethics and the 2nd and 3rd editions of the BACP guidelines. We believe it to be the most comprehensive framework available, and what is smart about the framework is its ability to be applicable to other areas of mental health, such as career and school guidance, coaching, social media, disaster mental health, and EAP work – with more being developed.
Since the lack of any regulation or monitoring of online work from a best practice point of view is of such concern to us two of the leading developers of ethical thinking within the field, DeeAnna and I took on the responsibility of starting to address this by designing and implementing a verification process for those who wish to be in our Directory. We verify websites so that individuals and businesses are shown as having been able to demonstrate to their audience that their website is ethical and in compliance with what we consider to be “best practice”. The thinking behind it means that in the future there will be some form of regulation of ethical practice for online services within the field of mental health which will be available to be adopted by the leading counselling, psychotherapy and coaching organisations worldwide when the profession is ready.
So this is what getting verified for inclusion in our Directory means for you, your service provision and ultimately your clients. Show the profession that – like us – you believe in the ethical provision of online mental health services. Click here to find out more about how simple it is to do just that.