Is Online Counselling Ethical?

As a Registered Counselling Therapist Candidate and Canadian Certified Counsellor, I follow the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice as set forth by the Nova Scotia College of Counselling Therapists (NSCCT) and the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA). This ensures that I provide the same level of care that I would when meeting with clients in person, and that I follow additional ethical guidelines regarding confidentiality, informed consent, and security while providing online counselling services.

Please find links to the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice below:

Who is Online Counselling Suitable For?

Please note that online therapy is suitable for those with mild to moderate mental health concerns. If you have more severe symptoms, please get in touch to discuss meeting in person. If you are experiencing a mental health emergency, please visit your nearest emergency room, or, if you are in Canada, you may contact Crisis Services Canada toll-free at 1-833-456-4566.

Is it Possible to Meet for Sessions In Person as well as Online?

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Nova Scotia College of Counselling Therapists recommends that counsellors meet with their clients online or by phone whenever possible. I currently offer in-person therapy in downtown Halifax, Nova Scotia, at Three Treasures Clinic, however, my hours are limited to only a few sessions per week, and these spots are reserved for those who are most in need.    

Are Sessions Covered by My Insurance Provider or Employer?

Online and in person counselling sessions are covered by a number of private insurance companies. If you think you are eligible to receive therapy through your provider, be sure to check whether your insurance plan covers services provided by Canadian Certified Counsellors (CCC) through the CCPA, or Registered Counselling Therapists (RCT or RCT-C) through the NSCCT. Be aware that some providers will not cover virtual services provided by registered therapists outside of your province or territory of residence. Please be sure to verify that your plan includes interprovincial services.

If you are an employees of GatherContent Ltd., or Acadia Drywall Ltd, you are eligible for a fixed number of online counselling therapy sessions. Please speak to your employer about setting up your first appointment.

How Will I Pay for My Sessions?

Payment for your sessions must be made prior to meeting with your counsellor, via e-transfer or PayPal (recommended for clients located outside of Canada). An invoice will be emailed to you a day or two prior to your appointment, and a receipt will be emailed to you once your payment has been processed following your session. If you have insurance coverage, receipts can be submitted to your provider for reimbursement.

How Do I Set Up and Use Online Counselling Software?

Prior to your initial online counselling appointment, I will send you an invitation to download the HIPAA-compliant video software, VSee. This program requires a simple download and installation on your computer and is free to use. I ask that you make sure the program is up and running prior to our initial appointment by checking audio and video settings. On the day of our session, I will message you a few minutes before our meeting time to ensure that you’re ready to go, and at the time of our appointment, I’ll give you a call!

For clients meeting in person, I will also send a link to download VSee. We will use the program for sending and receiving confidential documents between sessions, as the program is more secure than email. This is also a space where you can message your counsellor between sessions with questions about your homework or booking your next session.

How Will My Confidentiality and Safety be Maximized Online?

As your online counsellor, I will meet with you from a quiet and private home office space as well as use a headset at all times. I also use fans in my space for white noise in order to maximize the confidentiality of our sessions.

If your family or roommates are home at the time of your appointment, I suggest that you meet in a private room with the door closed, and turn on soft music, or another form of white noise in the background. Some of my clients choose to meet from their car parked in their driveway, or from a quiet office in their workplace.