Social work

CTiBS and Clinical Social Work: Telebehavioral Health Competencies for LCSWs in the Age of COVID-19

This article was originally published here

Clin Soc Work J. 2022 Jan 13:1-9. doi: 10.1007/s10615-021-00827-7. Online ahead of print.


Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW) have been integrating technology into the practice of psychotherapy for at least two decades, but the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically shifted the primary method of service delivery for diagnostic assessment and therapy to the behavioral telehealth. By developing telebehavioral health skills, the 250,000+ LCSWs in the United States can ensure and improve quality of care during and after the COVID public health emergency (PHE). This article applies an evidence- and consensus-based interprofessional telebehavioral competency (TBH) framework to the field of social work. This framework was developed by the Coalition for Technology in Behavioral Science (CTiBS), originally published in 2017. It has seven competency domains: (1) assessment and clinical care; (2) virtual environment and telepresence; (3) technology; (4) legal and regulatory issues; (5) evidence-based practice and ethics (including standards and guidelines and social media); (6) mobile health and applications; and (7) the development of telepractice. The framework describes three levels of competence (novice, proficient and authoritative) covering 49 specific objectives and 146 measurable skills or practices. The TBH competencies support existing in-person clinical practices and are intended for trainees and practitioners implementing TBH in practice. This competency framework can also be used to integrate professional development, research and training in clinical social work. Additionally, considerations for other behavioral health professions regarding licensure, certification, and policy may apply to clinical social work. Future research is needed on the implementation and assessment of skills.

PMID:35039696 | PMC: PMC8754554 | DOI:10.1007/s10615-021-00827-7