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Introduction to Effective and Ethical Tele Mental Health through Video Conferencing

Mary Karapetian Alvord, Ph.D. and Alex Siegel, J.D., Ph.D.

This workshop meets the MD Licensing Requirement for Laws/Ethics or Risk Management

Workshop Instructional Level:All. This workshop is intended for providers across levels of experience

Dr. Siegel works for ASPPB and developed PSYPACT

The power of high speed internet combined with high quality, HIPAA compliant Video Conference (VC) platforms has increased possibilities to provide evidence-based mental health treatment beyond in-person contact. Applied as primary, intermittent, or adjunct mode to in-person sessions, Telemental Health via (VC) can significantly reduce barriers to treatment when practiced in an ethical and selective manner. Within the past decade especially, research on Telemental Health (aka face-to-face) has shown promising results with various modalities and across a range of disorders. This workshop will focus on the practical "when", "how", and "where" to apply Telemental Health via VC. Case examples, as well as demonstration using a HIPAA compliant video conferencing system will highlight the range of possibilities, as well as risk considerations (client and location suitability) this pragmatic training. Treatment with individual patients (including exposure therapy) and exploration of additional applications (e.g. office-to-office parent training, collateral treatment, and supervision) will be discussed. Research on efficacy supporting VC will be briefly presented. Finally, client suitability, provider training and competence (technology and clinical and cultural), informed consent, regulatory issues, security measures to be considered, and risk/risk management issues. Each participant will receive a copy of a sample Telemental Health Checklist for providers. The presentation will also focus on the APA Guidelines for the Practice of Telepsychology and the ASPPB Telepsychology Task Force Principles/Standards with specific attention on the interjurisdictional practice of telepsychology. The obstacles for an interjurisdictional electronic psychological practice will be articulated and solutions to the various problems will be offered through a discussion of the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact (PSYPACT)

This workshop is designed to help you:

  1. List at least two competence skills a provider must possess prior to using telemental health;
  2. List 3 critical elements to include in an informed consent for TMH;
  3. Explain two ethical issues and strategies for effective risk management;
  4. List 4 of the 8 APA Guidelines for Practice in Telepsychology;
  5. Describe what you need to know to ethically and legally provide electronic telepsychological services across state boundaries;
  6. Describe how PSYPACT might facilitate an interjurisdictional practice.



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You can now attend online via Zoom. Participants do not have to pay anything extra to use Zoom. Further instructions on attending remotely will be sent with workshop confirmation.

Mary K. Alvord, Ph.D., is a psychologist and director of Alvord, Baker & Associates, LLC, a large group practice in Maryland. Past President of the American Psychological Association (APA), Division 46, Society for Media Psychology and Technology, she is currently Adjunct Associate Professor of The George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Dr. Alvord has been using video-conferencing for staff meetings and supervision for the past 12 years and for at least 7 years with patients. She is co-author of the Resilience Builder Program for Children and Adolescents, and Conquer Negative Thinking for Teens.


Alex M. Siegel, J.D., Ph.D., is an attorney and clinical psychologist. Currently, Dr. Siegel is the director of Professional Affairs (DPA) for Associations of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB). In his role as DPA, he serves as a liaison between ASPPB and state and national psychological associations. He was staff to the APA/ASPPB/APAIT joint task force on telepsychology and to the ASPPB task force on regulations for interjurisdictional telepsychology practice. He is a member of the PSYPACT task force. Dr. Siefel was appointed to the Pennsylvania State Board of Psychology, where he served for 13 years, six of which as chair of the board. In addition, Dr. Siefel consults with state governments, attorneys, courts and maintains a small clinical and forensic practice.

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