Clinical Social Work Journal

, Volume 43, Issue 2, pp 133–141 | Cite as

Ethical and Legal Implications on the Use of Technology in Counselling

  • Bryanne HarrisEmail author
  • Rachel Birnbaum
Original Paper


This article systematically reviews the ethical and legal challenges as well as benefits of online counselling. We address issues such as accessibility, anonymity, technology, asynchronous communication, online security, informed consent, and the challenges of licensure, liability, and regulation within the profession of online counselling. Current gaps in the empirical literature and legislation about online counselling and considerations for future research, practice and policy implications are also highlighted. The literature suggests that online counselling plays an important role in providing an alternative service delivery model that overcomes some of the barriers to traditional face-to-face counselling services. However, the authors conclude that there remains a lack of empirical evidence and many unanswered questions about the effectiveness of online mental health interventions and the appropriateness of online counselling for diverse populations.


Ethics Online counselling Ethical and legal challenges 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Western UniversityLondonCanada
  2. 2.King’s University CollegeWestern UniversityLondonCanada

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