Working online involves a distinct set of ethical challenges – some similar to working face to face and others unique to this way of communicating with clients at a distance.

This resource gives an overview of the issues you need to consider when working online with clients, supervisees or trainees to help you make informed ethical decisions.


  1. Introduction and background information
  2. Competences
    2.1 Professional competences
    2.2 Therapeutic competences
    2.3 Technological competences
  3. Security and confidentiality
  4. Data protection: legal requirements and responding to any breach of security or privacy
  5. Working internationally
  6. Working with vulnerable clients: risk assessment and emergency planning
  7. Equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) when using digital technology in the counselling professions
  8. Supplementary materials, tools and online links for clients
  9. Insurance matters
  10. Practitioner self-care when working online
  11. Supervision
  12. Training
  13. Practitioners’ use of the internet – managing your digital footprint
  14. Ongoing professional vigilance and responsibilities

Using fact sheet resources

These resources are not contractually binding on members but provide general information on current principles and policy, in the context of BACP’s core ethical principles, values and personal moral qualities.

Individual practice issues are often complex and will vary depending on your clients, models of working, the context of the work and the kind of therapeutic intervention provided. We'd always recommend discussing practice dilemmas with a supervisor, a legal advisor or another suitably qualified and experienced professional.

Please see Good Practice in Action for further information on using these resources.