Ethics for Mental Health Clinicians: Avoiding Potential Online Pitfalls

Ethics for Mental Health Clinicians: Avoiding Potential Online Pitfalls

Presented by Rob Reinhardt, LPCS, MEd, NCC on 10-06-2017 at 9 a.m. Pacific (noon Eastern) to 11 a.m. Pacific (2 p.m. Eastern)

The internet has become a primary tool for private practice marketing and business communication. It has allowed clinicians to collaborate with peers and connect with individuals seeking therapy. While other professionals can freely “talk shop” online, therapists must exercise caution to protect privacy and adhere to confidentiality standards. This also means the common online practice of soliciting feedback and publishing client reviews is usually prohibited.

In this two-hour continuing education web conference, Rob Reinhardt, LPCS, MEd, NCC will share many ways private practice clinicians can benefit from using the internet while complying with codes of ethics and federal laws, such as HIPAA. Rob will explain the mnemonic PIT (Permanence, Identity, and Transferability) principle and how it can be used as a strategy for clinicians to consider prior to posting delicate information online.

Rob will discuss the pitfalls of discussing individuals in therapy online and how to avoid them. He will also cover information about posting client reviews and testimonials online while protecting confidentiality. In addition, he will provide an overview of an effective social media policy for clinicians, discussing platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Yelp, and Google Groups. Additional information will be provided about specific products and apps that enhance security by protecting online communication.

This intermediate instructional level web conference is designed to help clinicians:

  1. Describe how professional codes of ethics and HIPAA apply to the use of social media. 
  2. Utilize the PIT principle and apply it to the accessibility of information on the internet. 
  3. Recognize the pitfalls of online reviews and testimonials and list ways to avoid them.
  4. Summarize best practices for discussing individuals in therapy online to avoid violating privacy or confidentiality. 
  5. Prepare a basic social media policy and understand how to personalize it.

If you have any questions or concerns about this web conference or would like more information, please contact us here.

How the Web Conference Works

Before the scheduled event, all registered attendees will be sent a reminder email from GoodTherapy.org with specific instructions on how to log in to the web conference center, as well as links to optional handout materials if applicable. 

To attend the event, registered attendees will log in to the web conference center using a computer or device (smartphone or tablet with internet access) and calling in to the teleconference line on a phone. Attendees will be able to ask live audio questions via phone and/or submit text chat questions via their computer or device. Attendees who are logged in to the event center will be able to see live streaming video and/or document sharing. Alternatively, attendees may dial in to the teleconference line only, though attendees dialing in by phone only will be unable to ask questions. 

At the conclusion of this event, participants will receive an email with information about how to request a CE certificate in the GoodTherapy.org Member's Area. To confirm attendance, participants must enter the start and end codes announced at the beginning and end of the live presentation. Participants will also be prompted to complete an online survey evaluating the event. Participants will need to complete this online survey within six days after the event. Once completed, participants will be able to download a copy of their CE certificate instantly. 

For additional information about this event or our CE grievance procedures, please contact us here.

447CE hours and counting!

All are available to GoodTherapy.org members at no additional cost.

Continuing Education (CE) Information

Two CE contact hours will be provided by GoodTherapy.org for attending this web conference in its entirety. 

GoodTherapy.org is an Approved Education Provider by NAADAC, The Association for Addiction Professionals (provider #135463). Of the eight counselor skill groups ascribed to by NAADAC, this course is classified within counseling services and legal, ethical, and professional development. 

GoodTherapy.org is an NBCC-Approved Continuing Education Provider (ACEPTM) and may offer NBCC-approved clock hours for events that meet NBCC requirements.

This organization, GoodTherapy.org, provider #1352, is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) www.aswb.org through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. GoodTherapy.org maintains responsibility for the program. ASWB Approval Period: March 30, 2016 through March 30, 2019. Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval for continuing education credits. Social workers participating in this course will receive two clinical continuing education clock hours.

GoodTherapy.org is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. GoodTherapy.org maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

GoodTherapy.org, SW CPE is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #0395.

GoodTherapy.org, LLC is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed marriage and family therapists #MFT-0022 and for licensed mental health counselors #MHC-0031

Registration Information

This web conference is available at no cost to GoodTherapy.org members.

Meet the Presenter

Rob Reinhardt, LPCS, MEd, NCC

Rob Reinhardt, LPCS, MEd, NCC

Rob Reinhardt, LPCS, MEd, NCC has his own successful counseling practice and years of experience running and working in a variety of successful businesses. Prior to becoming a licensed professional counselor, Rob worked in information technology for over ten years, including a position as Director of Information Technology. With a comprehensive mix of technology, clinical, and business experience he can address all facets of a private practice. 

Rob is an LPCS and column editor for Counseling Today, the professional magazine published by the American Counseling Association. Rob is also the creator of Describe, a deck of therapy cards that can be used with individuals, families, and groups of all ages.

For more information about Rob, please visit:

Continuing Education Provider Approvals

  • ace
    GoodTherapy.org is Approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. GoodTherapy.org maintains responsibility for this program and its content. GoodTherapy.org received APA approval in May 2011. Events after 2011 may meet APA requirements for Continuing Education credits.
  • Logo
    GoodTherapy.org has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6380. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. GoodTherapy.org is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.
  • Logo
    This course has been approved by GoodTherapy.org, as a NAADAC Approved Education Provider, for educational credits. NAADAC Provider #135463. GoodTherapy.org is responsible for all aspects of their programming.
  • ace
    GoodTherapy.org, provider #1352, is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) www.aswb.org through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) Program. GoodTherapy.org maintains responsibility for the program. ASWB Approval Period: 03/30/2016 – 03/30/2019. Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval for continuing education credits. Social workers participating in this course will receive 2 clinical continuing education clock hours.
  • GoodTherapy.org, LLC is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #SW-0395.
  • GoodTherapy.org, LLC is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed marriage and family therapists #MFT-0022 and for licensed mental health counselors #MHC-0031.