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Technology has opened a many opportunities in mental health support and data collection process. Mobile devices like cell phones, smartphones, and tablets are giving the researchers new ways to access help, monitor progress, and administer assessments that were used to being completed by paper and pencil. Unfortunately, technology means that your information is subject to Internet hacking. It needs to be understood by clients that nothing is ever truly confidential and that no matter how much we do to protect our client information we will always be one step behind possible hackers. The development and increasing use of technology in professional practice is a growing concern in many industries, particularly the field of mental health. New developments in the area of online psychological testing and therapy bring with them unique and previously unexperienced ethical issue to both the psychologist and the client. Although numerous advantages such as just saving money and time exist, the increases of risks to validity, accuracy, psychologist competency, and confidentiality need to be acknowledged and further addressed. The continued use of technology in the modern world is unavoidable. In Texas according the Texas department of State Health Services, technological means of communication may indeed be used to facilitate the therapeutic distance counseling process and that leads to distance testing. Counselors still need to adhere to each provision of the rules and statutes of the board. ACA code of ethics states that technology can used to administer tests but it is the counselor’s responsibility to ensure assessments function properly and provide clients with accurate results. Furthermore, the role of technology needs to be used to further the interests of the client, not the psychologist, to maintain ethical integrity.
Computer applications in the field of psychological test administration have significant ethical implications for clinicians, client/responders, and computerized test construction and administration. Lack of awareness of computer-related issues may undermine clinicians’ ability to ethically perform computerized psychological assessments. Computerization can present a series of problems psychologists conducting clinical assessments. Increased awareness of relevant issues will enhance the chances that ethical dilemmas will be successfully navigated. Clinicians should base their test interpretation and impressions on their clinical acumen, as well as reliable and valid testing results, not solely on interpretations generated by computer software that are accepted at face value without critical examination. In other words, simply because results come from a computer does not ensure the data’s validity. It is important for clinicians to interpret the test based on standard scores prior to reviewing the computerized interpretive report. In this fashion, clinicians may solidify their impressions based on their training, and they would be better able to judge the interpretive statements to determine the ones that accurately reflect a responder. Some clinicians faced with a complicated diagnostic picture may be tempted to rely on the computerized interpretive report too heavily. Basically, this could hinder from the overall quality of the assessment. However, studies have illustrated that equivalence between traditional and computerized forms of the same instrument exist. In other words, these studies often support that conventional and computerized instruments are essentially equivalent.
Provide at least two examples. Computer-based test interpretation programs can be found for nearly every type of personality assessment available today. Computer-based test interpretation programs arguably have many benefits over traditional hand-scored assessments and clinician interpretations which may contribute to their popularity. For example, Computer-based test interpretation programs save time and eliminate human responding and scoring errors. Further, Computer-based test interpretation programs are often more comprehensive than clinician interpretation, tend to be more reliable than clinician interpretation, are cost effective, and more objective which may allow clients to be more accepting of feedback. Despite these benefits, there are significant limitations of Computer-based test interpretations to consider. For example, Computer-based test interpretation reports may suggest an unwarranted impression of scientific precision and reports may be too general to provide differential information. Additionally, Computer-based test interpretations may promote exceedingly cavalier attitudes towards clinical assessment and interpretation, and as they are increasingly available to inadequately trained evaluators, the potential for misuse is high. Clinicians are cautioned to educate themselves before using Computer-based test interpretation programs, not to blindly interpret computer-generated reports as true or use Computer-based test interpretations as a way to circumvent their responsibilities as a clinician to integrate multiple sources of data.
With all of the rapid changes that have taken place in social media over the past few years, the profession as a whole is still trying to answer questions on how to implement these tools into everyday activities and communications. The American Counseling Association’s, a nonprofit organization focused on the advancement of the counseling profession, current code of ethics does not reflect the advances in social media and technology. It’s no secret that social media has taken over the internet and consumes a lot of people’s lives. It has advanced and grown so much over the past few years that the majority of businesses and organizations have a Facebook page, a Twitter account, a blog and/or a LinkedIn profile. Many companies even implement these tools into their websites so that visitors can get more connected to the company and join in on the conversations. The counseling profession has been affected greatly by these advances in technology. Social media has created both new issues to consider and benefits for counselors. They are now faced with the challenge of establishing effective boundaries with clients since social media has the ability to blur the line between private and public information. However, social media has opened many different doors for counselors and opportunities that may not have been available had social media not taken off. Subsequently, one way to avoid issues with HIPAA is for counselors to make sure that social media communication does not have any session-related content or diagnosis information. Another way is to get written permission from the client to communicate informally via social media because HIPAA allows clients to authorize this type of out-of-office communication.
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