NP0017 Handling Today's Hidden Ethical Dilemmas

This blog focuses on discussion regarding the course NP0017 Handling Today's Hidden Ethical Dilemmas.

NP0017, Ethics, Session 2, Ofer Zur


How has digital technology changed the ethical challenges practitioners face in the consulting room? Join psychologist Ofer Zur in this practical discussion of the new ethical trials that exist due to new technologies such as email, social media platforms, the Internet, cell phones, and more. Zur will break down the new issues and provide suggestions as to what therapists should do in order to best handle these ethical quandaries.

After the session, please take a few minutes to engage in the Comment Board and let us know what you thought. What did Zur bring up that was new to you? Do you think there are any other ethical dilemmas brought up by new technologies that weren’t mentioned in this presentation? Do you have any specific questions for Zur or for your peers? We invite you to share your thoughts, questions, and revelations, as well as including your name and hometown with your comments. If you have any technical questions, please feel free to contact support@psychotherapynetworker.org. Thanks for your participation.

03.06.2012   Posted In: NP0017 Handling Today's Hidden Ethical Dilemmas   By Psychotherapy Networker
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  • 0 avatar Wendy Miller 03.06.2012 14:12
    It was really wonderful to be in the presence of a fellow clinician who is truly working in the reality of our times today - and has challenged and pushed the meaning and value of our changing ethics and its guidelines. In my practice, I have teens, young people, and movers and shakers in the power politics of the DC metropolitan area and the entrance of digital communication has been as expansive as Ofer Zur has so eloquently described. I am very appreciative of the session today.
  • Not available avatar Lisa Baroni 03.06.2012 17:42
    I teach an ethics class in an MFT program and the subject of ethics in this digital age comes up frequently. My students have, for the most part, a facility with the online venues that this instructor does not share. Nevertheless, I fully concur with Dr. Zur: we have an ethical mandate to understand the context of our lives, and for that reason, I am very curious and willing to learn. It seems disrespectful to not do so. I use as much technology in our classroom as is possible. My students see my enthusiasm but also my anxiety, and so we navigate this stuff together. They are helpful and grateful that I am willing to deliver the information and participate in meaningful dialogue using tools that respect their communication styles and the increasing paucity of time available. This is my experience with clients as well--they feel respected when I am willing to accommodate their needs, and when I do so with an informed consent procedure in which we partner in discussion about the pros and cons of online delivery systems, we can get things scheduled, etc., with a minimum of fuss and interruption.
    I was struck by the comment that suggested that "they"--the younger generations--are not multitasking, but hopping. That stopped me dead, and gives me much to think about in terms of respecting the focus and speed with which these young folks can zero in on what's important to them. Looked at in this way, when they are texting, posting to Facebook, etc., it is perhaps NOT disrespectful, but efficient, and so I want to think about this more and talk with some younger folks about this. It was a thought-provoking comment.
    Thank you for presenting a webinar with content that is vital in our profession, and with attitude that was most respectful. How refreshing!
  • 0 avatar Shirley Hanson 03.06.2012 23:18
    Dr. Zur,
    Talk about being a digital immigrant!! I thought I was doing well with just doing email and having a cell phone. You opened my eyes to the huge areas of the digital age and the practice of MFT. Sure glad that I am semi-retired and just going some consulting. Boy life has changed in my professional career of 50+ years. Thank you for the resources. Dr. H
  • 0 avatar Jeannie Bertoli 03.10.2012 12:37
    Dr Zur,

    I was waiting for you to answer the most basic question for me: is it ethical for me to be licensed on one jurisdiction and do online (skype/ichat/other video) therapy with clients throughout the country? I read some information on your website which indicates if the state hasn't addressed teletherapy then you are unlikely to get sued. While that's great and I know things continually change, am I ethical to do it now? Where must I be licensed. Most of my clients are in DC and I now am moving to CA which is not friendly re: reciprocity of mft licensure. I may take your class on doing this well, but need to know this basic answer. Thank you so much!
  • 0 avatar Amanda Westmoreland 03.11.2012 16:16
    Dr. Zur, I'm a digital native born in the 80s that was schooled by digital immigrants (some reluctant and some enthusiastic adopters). I was a student in an MFT program from 2006-2008 and Ethics was a topic that I unfortunately "brushed off" mainly because I didn't feel that my instructors/supervisors understood the age we were living in- I heard yes and no without "compassionate understanding" in addition to never tell your clients what you believe in because that's not being collaborative. I laughed out loud when you described a therapist "huffing" when a client received a text in session. After hearing your throughful approach I had a huge lump in my throat and an "aha" moment for what's been missing in my journey as a young therapist- I don't have to have gray hair to be a good therapist and I'm not a stupid kid just because I've struggled with digital boundaries. THANK YOU FOR SHOWING UP AND TELLING ME WHAT YOU BELIEVE IN!
  • 0 avatar ROBERT ROSENTHAL 09.09.2012 17:46
    Very helpful in raising awareness of these issues.
    My feeling is that if the therapist is comfortable with aspects of digital media, then she will be able to incorporate them appropriately into her practice with mindful boundaries. By the same token, if not comfortable, then it's probably not a good idea to stretch and try to use them. For example, I don't text at home, even with my kids, and therefore have no intention of taking texts from patients. I am comfortable with email and use it, setting limits such as charging for longer email exchanges -- all laid out beforehand in an Office Policies handout.
  • 0 avatar ellen katz 12.06.2012 10:05
    Here we are leaving a permanent mark in cyberspace! This was a good overview, and a fine form of open-minded inquiry. I think it's an example of maturity in our field as opposed to rigidity that can come from age in the face of change. I too would like more discussion on the topic of Skype sessions and inter-state/international digital and telephone therapy. Clients move, we travel... there are many opportunities for this to come up. (I'm in Germany at the moment!) Hopefully you can notify us if/when this topic will be addressed.
  • 0 avatar Carol Mcdermott 04.07.2013 21:25
    Thankyou Rich and Dr. Zur for taking the fear out of moving into this new territory. I have learned about texting and the world of cell phone manners from my grandson; going from the place of irritation to understanding. You validated my moving to sit next to my clients and their phones/pads to get a look into their worlds.
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