Millions of people participate in virtual world environments, for a wide range of reasons. For these people, virtual worlds are immersive and engaging, and enable them to have experiences that would be difficult or even impossible outside of a virtual world.
Therapists are among those who are exploring virtual worlds as a treatment modality, and some see virtual worlds as having much promise in this regard. While virtual worlds certainly have potential, the environment raises a number of legal issues of which therapists should be aware and which they should address before providing therapy within virtual worlds.
As an initial matter, and at the risk of stating the obvious, a virtual world is an online environment. Therefore, a therapist should first determine whether the jurisdiction in which the therapist resides allows or places any restrictions on providing therapy. These regulations may govern issues like informed consent, data privacy and security, and reporting obligations. I will discuss the implications of virtual worlds for these concerns in further detail later in this article.
… read the complete story ~ http://issuu.com/onlinetherapyinstitute/docs/tiltiss8?mode=window&pageNumber=40
This article first appeared in the November 2011 issue of TILT Magazine ~ Therapeutic Innovations in Light of Technology.
Click here to read the entire PDF version of the Virtual Therapy vs. Professional Obligations article.
Francis (“Frank”) X. Taney, Jr. is a shareholder in the law firm of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC, where he serves as the chair of the information technology litigation practice group and is a member of the technology transactions group. This article is general and informational only and does not constitute legal advice.