ERIC Number: ED306496
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1986-Aug
Reference Count: N/A
Ethics and the Provision of Telephone Consultation Services by Psychologists.
Nagy, Thomas F.
With increasing frequency, psychological services are made available to the consumer via the telephone or computer/telephone link. Historically, information services by telephone have been offered consumers on a variety of subjects when psychopathology is minimal. Immediacy, accessibility, minimal psychological investment, telephone ubiquity, anonymity, and low financial expense are all reasons for maintaining a telephone service. However, potential risks do exist for the caller expecting counseling or psychotherapy, the most important of which may be a degraded level of service. In interpreting "The Ethical Principles of Psychologists" for a majority of cases, a telephone conversation or computer screen display would probably not be considered the context of a professional psychological relationship. Ethically acceptable telephone services include informational services and referral services. Psychologists engaged in telephone services are strongly urged to consider the following recommendations: (1) clearly define the service; (2) educate the public regarding expectations; (3) refrain from advertising or offering pyschotherapy over the telephone in the absence of a patient's compelling psychological evidence that would preclude an office visit; (4) make an effort to refer a caller for psychotherapy consultations; (5) take precautions to compensate for loss of contextual clues; and (6) uphold all relevant principles. (ABL)
Publication Type: Reports - General; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association (94th, Washington, DC, August 22-26, 1986).