Can a client record a therapy session? Do they have to tell you? Should you verbally address this issue at some point?
Although some clients/patients may have special needs that can best be served by making recordings of their sessions, clients/patients can also easily forget, lose or somehow compromise themselves with their own telehealth recordings. They may be dismayed and possibly hold you responsible for having their telehealth recording appear at inopportune times or in the wrong hands.
Can a client record a therapy session? The simple truth is that you cannot prevent a client/patient (or other people in their environment) from recording your telehealth sessions. However,, your informed consent process can make your policies clear. Through that process, you can obtain their agreement to avoid all recordings. While telehealth informed consent is required by most U.S. states and most Canadian provinces, it must be done very carefully to fully protect everyone involved. It is wise then, to fully understand telehealth informed consent processes that work as well as those that don’t work.
It is also important to be alert for and pick up on any clues that recording is occurring. It also wise then, to think through what you will say or do if you realize that a client/patient is recording your session. Practice such statements with a colleague. Just as you probably did in your graduate or medical training, you will probably learn a lot by actually doing it versus just thinking about it.
This current discussion may also serve as a simple reminder that we already we well into the 2st Century. Everything that we say and do can be recorded without our knowledge by a client/patient sitting three feet away from us in a brick-and-mortar office. We have to be prepared to address such realities as professionals to maintain our boundaries and protect all parties to the best of our abilities. Shrugging off these legal mandates is not a wise course of actions. If in doubt, it is best for you learn telehealth best practices through training and/or consultation, then experiment with one or a small group of colleagues. Use different platforms and modalities (email, video, texting, apps etc.). Make as many mistakes as possible while you are in training, so as to know how to handle them when they arise with someone who is counting on you to be competent. As with most technology, if an event can fluster you, it will. Learn best practices, identify what you need for the people you serve and then, practice ahead of time.
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