The ethics of online therapy : work towards new ethics guidelines.
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The burgeoning increase in internet access and use in South Africa and globally has opened up a new doorway for provision of mental health services online. This descriptive study focuses specifically on psychotherapeutic services provided by South African psychologists. Draft guidelines for online therapy were developed and a sample of South African registered psychologists was asked via an online survey to review, rate and comment on the draft guidelines. The sample also identified key ethical dilemmas arising from the novel use of this modality in South Africa. The draft guidelines were positively appraised by the majority of the participants supporting the value of such guidelines in South Africa. Key ethical dilemmas identified included: confidentiality, competence, boundaries, technological limitations, emergency situations, nature of therapeutic process, security of records, payment and verification of identity. Key words: online therapy, ethics, psychologists, ethical dilemma, draft guidelines.