Dustin Reed, PhD, NCC, LPC, is an assistant professor at Wayne State College, Wayne, Nebraska. Throughout his career, Reed has learned and utilized a variety of LMS (leaning management systems), including Canvas, Blackboard, Zoom, D2L-Bright Space, in addition to teaching in various forms of online or blended formats.
Reed provides insight to transitioning online in terms of counselor education and supervision and in following the NBCC Code of Ethics. Although there are many uncertainties, Reed urges counselors to take precautions to ensure that state and federal laws and codes of ethics are followed. The same holds true for providing telemental health counseling.
The following are a few tips Reed recommends:
Make sure that your servers are encrypted using both appropriate LMS safeguards and equipment (whether educating online or providing telemental health).
Seek appropriate training (the Center for Credentialing & Education offers a Board Certified-TeleMental Health Provider Certification, which is national and renewable every five years); currently, the Office of Civil Rights under the Department of Health and Human Services is providing leniency in terms of HIPAA violations in the hope that more clients who need mental health and other teleservices receive them. Check with your state licensure board for the correct requirements.
State continuing education and training requirements will vary.
When setting up online classrooms, make all assignments available to be submitted in various formats to best accommodate student needs.
Consider virtual office hours through video conferencing or phone conferences.
Give assignment and appointment reminders through announcements or emails as appropriate to client agreement, supervisee agreement, and institutional guidelines.