Online Counseling Through the Lens of Professional Ethics: Challenges and Solutions



The paper focuses on benefits, limitations, and ethical risks associated with online counseling yielded from domestic and international studies. We provide a detailed description of the most common online counseling ethical dilemmas, such as determining format suitability, taking action in crises, identification issues, method validity, regional differences in ethical and legal practices, confidentiality limitations, and establishing professional boundaries. A few options for ethical decision-making are offered, as well as advice on averting technical and ethical issues. We provide a specific version of informed consent for online counseling services, that helps ensure safety and protect both parties. It also describes the main aspects of online counseling, its technical and confidentiality limitations, crisis procedures, and ways to address potential conflicts.

General Information

Keywords: psychological counseling, online counseling, professional ethics, ethical dilemma, informed consent

Journal rubric: Therapevtic Community

Article type: scientific article


Funding. Subsidy of the Department of Health of Moscow for the implementation of the state task by Moscow State Budgetary Health Care Institution “Scientific and Practical Center for Mental Health of Children and Adolescents named after G.E. Sukhareva of Moscow Health Department”.

For citation: Shchedrinskaya O.M., Bebchuk M.A. Online Counseling Through the Lens of Professional Ethics: Challenges and Solutions. Konsul'tativnaya psikhologiya i psikhoterapiya = Counseling Psychology and Psychotherapy, 2020. Vol. 28, no. 3, pp. 84–99. DOI: 10.17759/cpp.2020280306. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Olga M. Shchedrinskaya, Junior Researcher, Sukhаrеvа Scientific-Practical Children’s Mental Health Сеntrе, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Marina A. Bebchuk, PhD in Medicine, Associate Professor, Director, Sukhаrеvа Scientific-Practical Children’s Mental Health Сеntrе, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



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