While taking advantage of developing technology, we also want to keep true to traditional therapeutic norms.
- We want to be aware of and concerned for the therapeutic milieu, the setting, and do everything within our power as therapist and client, to make that setting as comfortable and as conducive to openness and the potential for understanding and change as possible.
- We want to encourage rapport between the therapist and client, so that trust and openness is both possible and likely in a video-conferencing setting.
- We want to replicate the office setting as much as possible so that both therapist and client focus on the interchange more than the cameras and screens before us.
- We want to foster communication, rather than impede it, between client and therapist so that candid and honest discussion can take place.
- We want to protect confidentiality so that clients are able to disclose personal issues and be assured that the discussions are private and not disclosed inappropriately.
- We want the video-conferencing therapy to be at least as simple as getting in your car and driving to a professional office for your session.
More about confidentiality in the online, video-conferencing setting. I do not intend to keep video files of sessions. I will not video-record sessions. Occasionally, during a session the therapist and the client may exchange text messages on the screen. I will keep copies of those text messages for seven (7) days to assure that I have gotten content, wording, etc. correct for charting purposes. After session progress notes are completed these text copies will also be deleted and in no case will be kept for longer than seven (7) days. If a client were to email me a message between sessions, that correspondence will go into the client chart, much as would any US mail received from a client. I will maintain both a hard copy of the client's entire chart or record and an electronic copy (that is, portable document format (pdf) with or without necessary attached files.)
As we enter into the therapeutic relationship, you will be given instructions concerning what equipment and peripherals you will need (such as webcam, audio devices, etc.) You will also receive instructions on how to log on to the application that will enable you to access and enter into our online "room" where the confidential therapeutic sessions will be conducted.
With regard to security of computer network servers, encryption, etc., I utilize a program and service called TherapySites (See http://www.therapysites.com if you'd like more information.) The following description of TherapySites's security features that made it my choice contains some computer-ese and may be more technical than most individuals want or need, but it important to identify the features that will make our sessions secure and confidential.
Wecounsel operates over a completely secure, HIPAA-compliant online platform. Wecounsel has a Business Associate Agreement with our data center to ensure any sensitive information generated on the site is secured to HIPAA standards. The Wecounsel website also employs 256 bit SSL encryption while our videoconferencing software employs 128 bit SSL encryption. This is not only extremely secure, but it is also completely HIPAA compliant. In addition, wecounsel leverages industry best practices like automatic timeouts, password security level requirements and automatic data back-ups. All of this is done to make sure that the site is not just easy to use, but completely secure.
TherapySites also offers additional features which are designed to enhance the security and privavcy of user information. These features include the following:
- Secured video conferencing option applies system-wide to all calls
- Multi-tenancy to segment user populations and to define rules of access
- Ability to refresh and update virtual rool URL on a per call basis
- Ability to assign a unique PIN code per virtual room on a per call basis
- Ability to lock a virtual room
- Ability to assign generic, non-identifying user names
System administrative and user level passwords.