Ethical and Legal Implications on the Use of Technology in Counselling

Bryanne Harris*, Rachel Birnbaum

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-141
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Social Work Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Ethical and legal challenges
  • Ethics
  • Online counselling


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