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ERIC Number: EJ981856
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Jul
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0037-8046
Social Work Practice in the Digital Age: Therapeutic E-Mail as a Direct Practice Methodology
Mattison, Marian
Social Work, v57 n3 p249-258 Jul 2012
The author addresses the risks and benefits of incorporating therapeutic e-mail communication into clinical social work practice. Consumer demand for online clinical services is growing faster than the professional response. E-mail, when used as an adjunct to traditional meetings with clients, offers distinct advantages and risks. Benefits include the potential to reach clients in geographically remote and underserved communities, enhancing and extending the therapeutic relationship and improving treatment outcomes. Risks include threats to client confidentiality and privacy, liability coverage for practitioners, licensing jurisdiction, and the lack of competency standards for delivering e-mail interventions. Currently, the social work profession does not have adequate instructive guidelines and best-practice standards for using e-mail as a direct practice methodology. Practitioners need (formal) academic training in the techniques connected to e-mail exchanges with clients. The author describes the ethical and legal risks for practitioners using therapeutic e-mail with clients and identifies recommendations for establishing best-practice standards.
Oxford University Press. Great Clarendon Street, Oxford, OX2 6DP, UK. Tel: +44-1865-353907; Fax: +44-1865-353485; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A