Welcome to the Nexus of Ethics, Psychology, Morality, Philosophy and Health Care

Welcome to the nexus of ethics, psychology, morality, technology, health care, and philosophy

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Ethical concerns for telemental health therapy amidst governmental surveillance.

Samuel D. Lustgarten and Alexander J. Colbow
American Psychologist, Vol 72(2), Feb-Mar 2017, 159-170.


Technology, infrastructure, governmental support, and interest in mental health accessibility have led to a burgeoning field of telemental health therapy (TMHT). Psychologists can now provide therapy via computers at great distances and little cost for parties involved. Growth of TMHT within the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and among psychologists surveyed by the American Psychological Association (APA) suggests optimism in this provision of services (Godleski, Darkins, & Peters, 2012; Jacobsen & Kohout, 2010). Despite these advances, psychologists using technology must keep abreast of potential limitations to privacy and confidentiality. However, no scholarly articles have appraised the ramifications of recent government surveillance disclosures (e.g., “The NSA Files”; Greenwald, 2013) and how they might affect TMHT usage within the field of psychology. This article reviews the current state of TMHT in psychology, APA’s guidelines, current governmental threats to client privacy, and other ethical ramifications that might result. Best practices for the field of psychology are proposed.

The article is here.