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The New York Times and Coaching: What to Do If You Are Licensed Professional and Practicing Over State Lines as a “Coach”

(This article is Part II of The New York Times and Coaching. Click here to read Part I)

The simple truth is that Lantern is remarkable. In the NYT article entitled, “Lantern, a Start-Up, Offers Online Therapy for Anxiety and More” the Times  gave an exciting report of the evidence-based telehealth services offered by Lantern. A good look at Lantern’s new website states that their coaches are not only licensed, but trained in Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). On previous occasions, I have carefully reviewed their consumer-focused services and rated them as much better than many of their predecessors.I was equally impressed with the caliber of their board members, staff and other details of their model. They will hopefully stand as a model for others to follow. I spoke with one of their lead researchers just a few weeks ago about very exciting advances in at a study currently funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. 

A Little Can Go a Long Way

I don’t know where the Lantern coaches practice, but If there is a regulatory issue involved, it can probably be easily remedied. My hope at this point is that this NYT article sparks more discussion about licensure and how it needs to be fixed so companies like Lantern can help serve many more people in need of professional services. Increased discussion will hopefully bring pressure to create much needed change toward national and perhaps international licensure, just as we can drive automobiles in foreign countries on a limited basis with a US driver’s license. Professionals may want to search this TMHI blog site for more than a dozen posts about licensure issues, such as this one for psychologists: ASPPB Interjurisdictional Telepsychology Licensing Compact: News about Practicing Over State Lines. (Just look to the upper right corner of this page for our search field.)

To all professionals, I’d also suggest:

  1. If you are looking for online employment, I’d encourage you to visit the Lantern website to see their opportunities: 

    Lantern is looking for licensed mental health professionals to join the Lantern team as coaches for our evidence-based online mental health programs. Our programs have been developed in partnership with researchers at Stanford University, Washington University in St. Louis, and Penn State University, and they’ve already been piloted at 30+ universities around the country.
    We’re looking for mental health professionals who are:

    • Fully licensed (social work, counseling, psychology, marriage & family)
    • Have at least one year of CBT experience, with supervision
    • Are excited about using innovative methods to deliver evidence-based mental health services
  2. If you want to register for a job online and are ok working with us at TMHI in a beta project, we have set up our own employment site and are collecting the names and profiles of colleagues seeking online jobs. Just go to ProviderPanel and complete a detailed profile. We are approached regularly by employers needing licensed professionals in Idaho, New York, Florida, etc. We will show them your profile and if they are interested in contacting you, they will be given your contact information.
  3. If you plan to practice online as a licensed professional, I also encourage you to get independent professional training so you completely understand and are in full compliance with all your legal and ethical duties, regardless of your employer’s credibility, impressive funding or exciting innovations. Your license is in the balance. Learn what you need to know as a professional.
    1. If you’d like to learn more, join us in a webinar where we discuss these issues in more detail and answer questions from our audience. See Why Coaching Over State Lines Can Involve Legal and Ethical Violations for Licensed Mental Health Professionals.
    2. If you are serious about learning how to work online, within your state or across state lines, consider certification in telemental health.

I’m not an attorney, but those are my thoughts. What are yours?

 
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4 comments on “The New York Times and Coaching: What to Do If You Are Licensed Professional and Practicing Over State Lines as a “Coach”

  1. It seems as though cognitive behavior therapy via telehealth would work significantly better if the patient and therapist establish face-to-face rapport first. Are there any case studies which decipher the difference in effectiveness between digital-only meetings vs. relationships that have been established in person first? I’d be interested in learning more, thanks!
    ~ Jonathan Spero, MD
    CEO at http://www.inhousephysicians.com

    • Jonathan,

      Although we’ve catalogued more than 4,000 telemental health publications for our training here at TMHI, I don’t recall any such article for telemental health. If anyone else reading this knows of such a body of research or even a single article, please let us all know by posting links!

      What is quite strong is the research supporting telepractice without an in-person intake for a wide variety of disorders when the client/patient is in a supervised environment, such as a hospital, physician or other professional office, such as a psychologist’s office. This of course is when the clinician is using a tradtional telehealth model, with full videoconferencing according to protocols, and not for when they are offering therapy exclusively in email or text messaging, for instance.

      When the client/patient in in an unsupervised setting, such as their home, all bets are off, and especially if the clinician doesn’t know how to properly secure that environment before starting the session. We address and teach evidence-based solutions for all these issues in our Platinum Professional training program, which is 100% online. See here for details: http://telehealth.org/platinum

      • Marlene,

        We’re thinking of implementing a telehealth aftercare solution for patients who receive our hep C treatments. Does your training program outline strategies or best practice solutions for international providers? We’re based in Europe and Asia and are always looking for ways to better connect and stay connected with our international patients.

        Thanks and please advise,

        Paul
        Advocate @ Cure-HepC by Arimedio
        http://www.cure-hepc.com

        • Paul,

          Thank you for your question. Sounds like you are involved in an exciting project!

          We are well acquainted with a number of international infrastructure as well as legal and ethical issues, and have trained professionals in 55 countries. To set up a discount for more than 3 providers, send a note to our desk at contact@telehealth.org. If you need consultation at any point, we’re available to help with that as well. Send a note to that same email to meet with us to discuss your options in more detail.

          Marlene

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