PsyPact & Teletherapy

What is PSYPACT?

PSYPACT is an interstate agreement that allows licensed psychologists to practice telepsychology and conduct temporary face-to-face sessions across state boundaries legally and ethically, without requiring the psychologist to be licensed in each individual state.

Why is PSYPACT important to me?

PSYPACT allows licensed psychologists to provide “continuity of care,” which ensures that treatment is not disrupted due to a client moving or relocating.  Psychologists can also reach underserved populations, isolated populations such as rural areas, and provide specialty care that is not available in that state.  PSYPACT also ensures that the psychologist has met the defined standards to practice in other states, which protects the general public.

What is required of me as the client?

Communication is essential to any virtual therapeutic relationship.  Before treatment begins, you must provide a reliable emergency contact number to have on file in case of an emergency.  Your provider will also verify your present location at the beginning of each session, typically by asking for the address.  You are free to join the session from anywhere in the PSYPACT state if the connection is reliable, secure, and confidential.  Please note, your provider is not able to see you if you are physically located outside of a PSYPACT state.

What is required of the therapist?

Prior to joining PSYPACT, the therapist must be licensed in a PSYPACT state and declare a “Home State.”  The psychologist must be physically located in the Home State in order to see clients and adhere to the applicable laws of both the Home State and the Receiving State (where the client is located).  Psychologists working under PSYPACT undergo a multi-stage application process and receive an e.Passport Certificate from the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) and permission from the PSYPACT Commission for their Authority to Practice Interjurisdictional Telepsychology (APIT).

What confidentiality standards apply?

The same confidentiality standards apply to virtual appointments as they do to in-person appointments.  Your provider will use an encrypted video software for virtual appointments, and all information that is discussed in sessions is confidential.  In order to collaborate with outside providers, such as a medical doctor, a signed release of information is required.

What are the limits to confidentiality?

Your safety is the top priority in treatment.  While each state may have minor differences in reporting requirements, generally all states require that a psychologist report the following information to an emergency contact or law enforcement:

  • A crime is in progress
  • There is a medical emergency
  • An individual under 18 is being physically or sexually abused o An individual under 18 is being neglected or does not have access to safe living spaces
  • An elderly individual is being abused or exploited
  • An individual who is otherwise unable to care for themselves is being abused or exploited
  • Records are subpoenaed by a court with a judge’s signature

What is the Duty to Warn?

This refers to the psychologist’s duty to alert law enforcement if an individual has intent to harm another person.  In some states, the psychologist must also alert the identified target.

What states are part of PSYPACT?

The following states are members of PSYPACT:

Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas. Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.), Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin