TeleMental Health has been around for well over 20 years. Going all the way back to the early 90s, when the internet could support both audio and visual connections, clinicians have been fascinated with the opportunity to serve their clients in a new way. The field has always struggled to keep up with the technology in an ethical and legal manner. Over the years, several leaders have emerged and given direction, caution and instruction to therapists who want to bring this to their practices. Below are some of the leading experts for online counselling and I encourage you to learn about them and what they have to offer.
Marlene M. Maheu, PhD
Dr. Maheu is unquestionably one of the leading voices for ethical telemental health and has been since 1994. She is a dynamic speaker and trainer and is the Executive Director of the TeleMental Health Institute, where she inspired the development of more than 90 hours of instructional materials in the field. She is also the founder and Editor-In_Chief of SelfhelpMagazine – an online award winning portal providing free support to millions around the world. As the Co-Founder and Presdident of the Coalition for Technology in Behavioral Science (CTiBS), she is leading the mission to responsibly advance the use of technology in the behavioral sciences. Her contribution to this field cannot be overstated.
Philippa Weitz BEd, MSc, MBACP
Philippa Weitz is one of the leading experts in the UK on counselling and psychotherapy online. She has special interests in both the success of the online therapeutic relationship and security, confidentiality and jurisdiction. She lectures and teaches widely around working therapeutically and safely online. She has over 25 years experience in mental health care and has had several leadership roles including the Standards and Ethics Officer for ACTO – The Association for Counselling and Therapy Online. She is the author of Psychotherapy 2.0: Where Psychotherapy and Technology Meet. She also provides an accredited training program: PWT Academy.
Roy Huggins, LPC, NCC
I believe that no one knows more about the intersection of counselling and technology than Roy Huggins. As a counsellor and the creator of Person Centered Tech, he is a consultant to the mental health field for issues related to digital ethics quandaries, security and privacy. He is the author of numerous articles which are a must read for any mental health professional considering working online. He provides one on one and group consulting and can be reached through his site.
Jay Ostrowski, MA, NCC, LPC-S, DCC, ACS
Mr. Ostrowski has a passion for serving and advancing the field of counseling. After growing his private practice into the largest practice in South Carolina, he founded Behavioral Health Innovation to consult with other counseling professionals and organizations – creating tailored solutions for their growth and success. He has been involved in the design and development of several well known online counseling software platforms and helped everyone from state agencies to private practitioners choose HIPAA and HITECH compliant technology for online counselling. He is currently developing a site that compares and contrasts all of the available platforms: www.telementalhealthcomparisons.com
Regardless if you are a large organization or an independent practitioner, you can gain a lot from learning about Mr. Ostrowski and his organization.
Dr. John M. Grohol, PsyD
Dr. Grohol is a pioneer in online mental health and psychology. Many of you may know him as the founder of PsychCentral.com, but that is only a tiny fraction of what he has brought to the field. Dr. Grohol was the first to publish online the diagnostic criteria for common mental disorders. His leads the charge in breaking down the barriers of stigma associated with mental health and brings trusted resources and support communities to the internet. He is the author of The Insider’s Guide to Mental Health Resources Online and sits on the board for CyberPsychology, Behavior and Social Networking. At the intersection of technology and the helping field – you will find Dr. Grohol.
ISMHO – International Society for Mental Health Online
ISMHO was formed in 1997 to promote the understanding, use and development of online communication, information and technology for the international mental health community. Over the years it has become the go-to place to learn about the changing field of telemental health. ISMHO provides an online forum for students, teachers, researchers, practitioners and online mental health professionals to discuss the issues that currently face our field. They have members in 27 countries throughout the world and represent an incredibly diverse approach to online counseling and the issues surrounding telemental health.