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Nicole Godine, Jeffrey Barnett, Psy.D., ABPP, Charles T. LoPresto, Ph.D.,Matthew W. Kirkhart, Ph.D.

Technology and Psychology: Psychologists’ Use of and Attitudes Toward Telepsychology

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Advances in technology and the increasing use of technology by practicing psychologists with their clients (telepsychology) mean that more and more psychologists are beginning to rely on technology in both their personal and professional lives. Telepsychology has shown great promise in the effective treatment of many psychological difficulties to include addictions, anxiety, depression, and grief, and has the potential to provide access to needed treatment services to many underserved populations. However, the extent to which psychologists use technology to provide services to clients, or even their thoughts about the use of telepsychology in practice, is uncertain at best. Having an accurate understanding of practicing psychologists’ attitudes toward and uses of telepsychology can have a significant impact on determining needed educational efforts for psychologists about telepsychology to reduce misconceptions and disseminate information on appropriate and inappropriate uses, to provide data on applications of telepsychology that need additional research focus, to develop needed models for decision making about when and when not to use specific telepsychology interventions, and to help determine when additional standards and regulation may need to be considered.  

The present study surveyed approximately 100 licensed psychologists in practice who are members of APA Divisions 12 (Society of Clinical Psychology), 17 (Society of Counseling Psychology), 29 (Psychotherapy), 42 (Psychologists in Independent Practice), and 43 (Society for Family Psychology). Participants responded to a survey that asked questions about their use of and attitudes toward telepsychology. The results of this study provide information on practicing psychologists’ attitudes toward telepsychology, their use of various technologies in their personal lives, and their use of these technologies in clinical practice. The results provide important information on who utilizes telepsychology and if personal technology use and attitudes impact these decisions, and when they do, in what ways. The implications of this study are relevant to the education and training of practitioner psychologists, in helping to determine areas of telepsychology where additional research is needed, misconceptions about telepsychology that need to be rectified and misuses of telepsychology that need to be addressed through education, outreach, and regulation. The results of this study also provide needed information on the areas of telepsychology in which practicing psychologists’ use is lacking, where their beliefs and practices are not supported by available research and prevailing standards, and provide needed guidance on the necessary actions needed to correct them.

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