A Telepsychology Primer


Smucker Barnwell, S. (2019). A telepsychology primer. Journal of Health Service Psychology, 45, 48–56.


Psychologists may be hesitant to use telepsychology to increase patient care access not only due to unfamiliarity with technological platforms and their utilization, but also due to uncertainty of additional telepsychology requirements. Telepsychology, the provision of psychological services using telecommunication technology, is a burgeoning area and increasingly part of mainstream practice. The following article outlines core aspects of ethical telepsychology service provision. The author operationalizes terms, outlines key ethical and legal considerations, and discusses various aspects of implementation and logistics (e.g., inclusion criteria, technology selection, documentation, and emergency planning). The author focuses on specific aspects of videoconferencing and telephone service provision.

Registrants can read the full article on


American Psychological Association (2013). Guidelines for the Practice of Telepsychology. Retrieved from

American Psychological Association Division 18 ( 2018, September 21). Psychotherapy Quick Guide.  Retrieved from:

American Well (2015). American Well® 2015 Telehealth Survey: 64% of Consumers Would See a Doctor Via Video. Retrieved from

Association of State and Provincial Psychology (2015). PSYPACT.  Retrieved from

Barak, A., Hen, L., Boniel-Nissim, M., & Shapira, N. (2008). A comprehensive review and a meta-analysis of the effectiveness of Internet-based psychotherapeutic interventions. Journal of Technology in Human Services, 26(2-4), 109-160.

Brooks, E., Turvey, C., Augusterfer, E.F. (2013). Provider Barriers to Telemental Health: Obstacles Overcome, Obstacles Remaining. Telemedicine Journal and e-health, 19(6), 433-437. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2013.0068.

DeAngelis, T. (2012, March). A second life for practice? Monitor on Psychology, 43, 48.

Dinger, M.K., Heesch, K.C,. Cipriani, G.,&  Qualls, M. (2007). Comparison of two email-delivered, pedometer-based interventions to promote walking among insufficiently active women. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 10(5), 297-302. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2006.07.011

Grady, B., Myers, K.M., Nelson, E.L., Belz, N., Bennett, L., Carnahan, L., et al. (2011). Evidence-based practice for telemental health. Telemedicine Journal and E-Health, 17 (2), 131-148.

Head, K.J., Noar, S.M., Iannarino, N.T., & Grant Harrington, N. (2013) Efficacy of text messaging-based interventions for health promotion: a meta-analysis. Social Science and Medicine, 97, 41-48. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2013.08.003

Hilty, D.M., Ferrer, D.C., Burke Parish, M., Johnston, E., Callahan, E.J.,  & Yellowlees, P.M. (2013). The Effectiveness of Telemental Health: A 2013 Review. Telemedicine Journal and e-Health, 19(6), 444–454. doi: 11089/tmj.2013.0075

Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, Title XIII of Division A and Title IV of Division B of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), Pub. L. No. 111-5, 123 Stat. 226 (Feb. 17, 2009) (full-text), codified at 42 U.S.C. §§300jj et seq.; §§17901 et seq.

Holloway, K. M., & Reger, G. M. (2012). T2 virtual PTSD experience: A virtual worlds environment to educate Service Members and Veterans about combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder. International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/10447318.2012.735186

Luxton, D. D. (2014). Artificial intelligence in psychological practice: Current and future applications and implications. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 45(5), 332-339.

Luxton, D. D., Nelson, E. & Maheu, M. (2016). A Practitioner’s Guide to Telemental Health, Washington DC: American Psychological Association Books.

Mohr, D. C., Ho, J., Duffecy, J., Reifler, D., Sokol, L., Burns, M. N.,… Siddique, J. (2012). Effect of telephone-administered vs face-to-face cognitive behavioral therapy on adherence to therapy and depression outcomes among primary care patients: A randomized trial. Journal of the American Medical Association, 307, 2278 –2285. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.5588

Murphy, J. M., & Pomerantz, A. M. (2016). Informed consent: An adaptable question format for telepsychology. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 47(5), 330-339.

National Institutes of Mental Health (2018). Minority and mental health disparities program. Retrieved from

Parsons, T. D., Silva, T. M., Pair, J., & Rizzo, A. A. (2008). Virtual environment for assessment of neurocognitive functioning: Virtual reality cognitive performance assessment test. Studies in Health Technology and Informatics, 132, 351–356.

Parsons, T. D., Kenny, P., Ntuen, C. A., Pataki, C. S., Pato, M. T., Rizzo, A. A. . . . (2008). Objective structured clinical interview training using a virtual human patient. Studies in Health Technology and Informatics, 132, 357–362.

Pew Research Center (2018). Internet and broadband fact sheet. Retrieved from

Pew Research Center (2018). Mobile fact sheet. Retrieved from

Richardson, L.K., Frueh, B.C., Grubaugh, A.L., Egede, L., & Elhai, J.D. (2009). Current directions in videoconferencing tele-mental health research. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 16, 323–338.

Shore, P., Goranson, A., Ward, M. F., & Lu, M. W. (2014). Meeting Veterans Where They’re @: A VA Home-Based Telemental Health (HBTMH) Pilot Program. The International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine48(1), 5–17.

Smith, B. (Producer), Ford, J., Hathaway, H., & Marshall, J. (Directors). How the West Was Won. United States: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Smucker Barnwell, S., & Adams Larsen, M. (2018).  Disposal of Data, Information, and Technologies. In L. Campbell, F. Millan, & J. Martin (Eds.). A Telepsychology Casebook: Using Technology Ethically and Effectively in Your Professional Practice (pp.99-120).  Washington, DC: American Psychological Association

Smucker Barnwell, S.V., & Bui, T. (2015). Pulling it together: Logistics of video teleconferencing program implementation. In P. Tuerk & P. Shore (Eds.) Clinical Videoconferencing in Telehealth (pp. 89-104). New York: Springer.

Smucker Barnwell, S., & Campbell, L. (2017). Teletherapy. In S. Walfish, J. Zimmerman, & J. Barnett (Eds.) The Handbook of Private Practice. New York: Oxford University Press.

Smucker Barnwell, S., McCann, R., & McCutcheon, S. (2018). Competence of the psychologist. In Campbell, L. F., In Millán, F., & In Martin, J. N. (Eds). A telepsychology casebook: Using technology ethically and effectively in your professional practice. Washington DC: American Psychological Association.

Statista. (n.d.). U.S. e-mail reach 2019 | Statistic. Retrieved January 31, 2018, from

Stiles-Shields, C., Kwasny, M. J., Cai, X., & Mohr, D. C. (2014). Therapeutic alliance in face-to-face and telephone-administered cognitive behavioral therapy. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 82(2), 349-354.

US Department of Health and Human Services Bureau of Health Workforce Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)  (2018). Designated Health Professional Shortage Areas Statistics. Retrieved from

United States Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (2019, January).  Telehealth Services. In MLN booket.  Retrieved from:

United States. (2004). The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Dept. of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration.

United States (2009). Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health. Washington, D.C:

United States Department of Health and Human Services Ocr. (2015, December 18). 482-Does HIPAA permit a health care provider to share information for treatment purposes by fax, e-mail, or over the phone. Retrieved January 31, 2018, from

VandenBos, G.R., & Williams. (2000). The Internet versus the telephone: What is telehealth anyway?. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice. 31. 490-492. doi:10.1037/0735-7028.31.5.490.

Thank You to Our Advertisers for This Issue

Earn CE Credit

Learn More

1200 New York Ave NW, Ste 800

Washington DC 20005

p: 202.783.7663

f: 202.347.0550

Endorsed by the National Register