Psychologists' ethical responsibilities in Internet-based groups: issues, strategies, and a call for dialogue

Prof Psychol Res Pr. 2000 Oct;31(5):493-6. doi: 10.1037/0735-7028.31.5.493.


How can psychologists participate ethically as facilitators, advisers, and peer members in Internet-based groups? The astonishing growth of Internet technology and on-line groups has outpaced the development of formal ethical guidelines for psychologists involved in on-line groups. This article provides an initial appraisal of psychologists' ethical responsibilities in discussion, support, and self-help groups that operate on the Internet and offers practical strategies for avoiding ethical problems. By presenting initial strategies and guidelines for ethical behavior in Internet-based groups, the authors hope to stimulate the field to further discuss and analyze these issues.

MeSH terms

  • Confidentiality
  • Counseling / ethics
  • Duty to Warn
  • Ethics, Professional*
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Professional Misconduct
  • Professional Role
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Psychology / ethics*
  • Psychotherapy / ethics*
  • Self Disclosure
  • Self-Help Groups*