Email counselling – pros and cons

  • Email counselling – pros and cons

    Posted by Veronica Hye dearestveronica on April 10, 2020 at 5:42 pm


    As we are moving toward virtual counselling due to Civid 19, I see more and more people are becoming mindful of online security issues and etc.

    I just want to know if email counseling is safe, due to its nature of storing the whole conversation in the written format that can be open right in front of the people’s eyes. And every sentence can be scrutinized, when and if a client maliciously accuses his/her counsellor of the former’s relational and/or financial loss due to his/her own poor judgement.

    I also wonder if therapies in the forms of written material easily create misunderstanding for the client who is already vulnerable and has impaired judgment. Any answers?

    Shannon Husk replied 3 years, 5 months ago 4 Members · 3 Replies
  • 3 Replies
  • Angela Herd

    April 16, 2020 at 2:45 pm

    Hi Veronica,

    I’m not sure if this fits for you but many of the online platforms like icouch or Owl have messaging options that are HIPAA or PHIPA compliant to securely message clients.

  • Cynthia info

    April 16, 2020 at 4:42 pm

    Hi Veronica,

    This is a great question and one I’ve been wrestling with over the last month. Many clients are working on relationships with people they are sheltered with, so privacy can be hard to come by. While ultimately it can be an issue of boundaries, safety and problem-solving to figure out ways to talk on the phone or online, for some it is still just not an option and could place the client in danger to do a session right now.

    I was looking around for an app that could offer safe messaging or email, that could be password protected or hidden, that would offer a compliant platform for privacy and security. I haven’t found it.

    Apparently Hushmail is HIPAA Compliant but that is not sufficient for our needs. Anyone know of any other options?

  • Shannon Husk

    April 19, 2020 at 10:35 am

    Hello Angela and Cynthia,

    I took an online therapy course put on by Lawrence Murphy(Worldwide Therapy Online) and text messaging is only secure through a platform that allows this. We used one when training but I cannot remember what it was. If a client sends you a text, we were told to print these off and store them in our files if there is any concerning or relevant info and delete them. I let clients know that if they do text me to set up a session or to cancel that they do not put any personal information in their texts.My understanding of email is that it is never truly secure and that we need to have a disclaimer in our emails about this to clients. Here is what mine says:

    This e-mail is confidential and is intended only for the person(s) to whom it is addressed. Any distribution, copying, or other use by anyone else is strictly prohibited. If you received this e-mail in error, please destroy this e-mail and contact me directly.

    Shannon’s Support Services puts the security of the client at a high priority. Therefore, we have put efforts into ensuring that the message is error and virus-free. Unfortunately, full security of the email cannot be ensured as, despite our efforts, the data included in emails could be infected, intercepted, or corrupted. Therefore, the recipient should check the email for threats with proper software, as the sender does not accept liability for any damage inflicted by viewing the content of this email.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 5 months ago by  Shannon.