Clarity results in guidance, pride, and effective partnerships!
Mental health counseling is an honorable profession and vital to the health of a society. Mental health providers offer a unique skill set to clients and healthcare teams. Since there are so many titles used for mental health professionals (LMHC, LPC, LPCC…) and similar types of mental health professionals (Counselors, Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists, Psychologists, Psychoanalysis, …), there is often confusion about the specifics of the profession. Because of this, the mental health counseling profession has been in need of an official and unified statement that defines its values, unique characteristics, and qualifications.
What do we call behavioral health sessions where the client and clinician are not in the same location but rely on technology to communicate?
There are so many terms and definitions for this that it often causes confusion. Knowing which term or definition to use is often determined by context. Among other terms used, social workers have used the term technology-assisted social work, psychologists have used the term e-psychology, and counselors have used the term distance-counseling. Clinicians who specialize in using texting for therapy have referred to it as text-therapy, providers marketing to tech-savvy clients have used the terms web-based or cyber-counseling.
Telemental health is defined as the provision of behavioral or mental healthcare when the clinician and the client are in different locations at the time of services. Behavioral health services provided when the client and clinician are in the same location are often referred to as "face-to-face", "on-site", "in-person" or "in-office" sessions.
With the exception of writing letters or sending information via “snail mail”, we all generally communicate over long distances by means of technology. When counseling services are provided this way, they can be called “distance counseling”.