Ethical aspects of psychological assessment, treatment and research over the internet

Michael Kyrios, Jo-Anne Abbott, Julia Reynolds, Neil Thomas

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The term ‘tele-health’ has been used to delineate the use of telecommunications and information technologies in the provision of a broad range of health services across geographical distances, inclusive of provision of health and mental health information, consultation, assessment, intervention, and follow-up (Glueckauf et al., 2003). Numerous terms have been used by psychologists to identify the use of remote psychological services via the Internet, such as ‘e-mental health’, ‘e-therapy’, and ‘e-counselling’. Such services make it possible to provide health and mental health information to individuals and groups that might not have access to or present for services. In addition, the Internet can be used to disseminate the expertise of psychologists across education and training, research and development, and occupational, social and policy domains.

Given the pace with which the community has absorbed developments in technologies, it is not surprising that psychologists have incorporated such advances (Kyrios & Thomas, 2014). However, it is imperative that a solid evidence base and the highest professional standards underpin engagement by psychologists in such trends. This chapter addresses issues associated with the ethics of psychological practice and research over the Internet. We address general issues associated with professional work over the Internet (e.g., security, limits to practice across geographical boundaries, working within the boundaries of current funding models), specific issues related to professional development and practice (e.g., training and supervision, competencies, record keeping, maintaining an appropriate therapeutic relationship, assessment, consent, privacy and confidentiality, managing client safety), as well as ethical issues related to undertaking research over the Internet. Case vignettes are used to illustrate and/or introduce specific issues.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEthics and Professional Practice for Psychologists
EditorsShirley Morrissey, Prasuna Reddy, Graham R. Davidson, Alfred Allan
Place of PublicationSouth Melbourne, Vic.
PublisherCengage Learning Australia
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9780170368520
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Psychological assessment
  • Psychology -- Moral and ethical aspects
  • Psychologists -- Professional ethics
  • Australia
  • Tele-health
  • Internet


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