have produced this document to help promote safe professional practice
for those psychological therapists who work online. All ACTO members
are required to adhere to and follow the Code of Ethics of the organisation
with whom they hold membership
or accreditation in addition to
the ethical framework laid out below.
expects all its members to adhere to the following:
Be aware of and familiarise themselves with the differences between
online and face to face psychological therapy and the impact that
online work can have on the relationship between therapist and client
and the therapeutic process
Be aware of and work within their limitations and competence; seeking
regular supervision preferably from an experienced online supervisor;
and be willing to undertake continuing
Recognise and respect diversity and difference especially when working
across international/cultural boundaries and be alert to the possibility
of misinterpretation of the written and/or spoken word.
Have the ability to assess clients appropriately and ensure their
suitability for online work.
Ensure that clients have read, understood and agreed on their personal
contract/agreement for working online together before the therapeutic
Take appropriate hardware and software measures to protect the integrity
and privacy of their computer systems and to remove client material
from their computers at the end of the contracted work.
Ensure that all clients have access to clear written statements,
in an explicit format, of all email transactions and monies paid
to their therapist.
h. Ensure that all clients have a clear understanding of what to
do in the event of server or computer outage and breakdown.
Respect and be aware of their clients right to take decisions
and to act for themselves.
Supply accurate and up-to-date information about the service they
are offering the client; including fees for all the forms of online
therapy they offer.
Avoid taking advantage of clients or exploiting them in any way;
(For example, sexually, financially, psychologically, or emotionally).
Work only when both client and therapist are deemed fit to do so
(physically / psychologically / technologically) to ensure the quality
of the therapy they provide.
Protect their own position, if possible, by obtaining appropriate
insurance to cover the work they undertake.
Keep at least brief records of their counselling work with clients,
unless there are exceptional reasons for not doing so.
Keep up to date with any legal requirements that affect their online
Avoid offering services to a child or young person where they believe
'informed consent' cannot apply, without first obtaining permission
from a person with parental responsibility, unless they are working
for a registered voluntary or statutory organisation that offers
anonymity and does require 'parental consent' as a pre-requisite
for using the service.
Never indicate or imply that they are working for ACTO. Membership
of ACTO is not a contract of employment.
Never indicate or imply that membership of ACTO offers proof of
the therapist's qualifications or training.
Treat their online colleagues with professional courtesy and respect
both directly and indirectly (i.e. in how they represent themselves
the event that you might have a complaint
against a member of ACTO please read more about how to make a complaint
in our FAQ section