ASWB Exam Prep: Teletherapy

By Heidi Tobe on May 4, 2020

This month’s FREE LCSW and LMSW practice question for the ASWB exam covers a very timely topic: teletherapy. Due to the novel Coronavirus, teletherapy (and telehealth in general) are at an all time high. Each state board and insurance company are handling teletherapy during this unique time in different ways. Thankfully, when it comes to ASWB exam questions it is a bit simpler. Part of this is because the test does not reflect changes occurring as a result of COVID-19. Additionally, the ASWB test is a national exam, not a state exam. This means the exam someone takes in California is the same as the one taken in New York, Michigan, Idaho, etc. Because of this, state specific laws are not tested.


So what do I need to know about teletherapy for the exam?

Specific state laws do not show up on the exam (for teletherapy or anything else). But the ASWB exam does recognize that state laws must be followed. This may be reflected in answer options. Generally speaking, if there is an answer option that says to follow state laws on the exam, that is a good one to go with. (The ASWB exam is never going to have you choose an answer that has you break the laws of your state). 

Teletherapy is a bit more complex, though. Not only does a social worker have to follow the laws of their state board, but also the laws of the state where the client resides. So let’s say I live in a state that allows me to provide teletherapy across state lines. That may not be enough to provide telehealth to an out-of-state client. If a client moves to (or lives in) another state, I am also required to abide by the laws of that state. So if the state the client resides in requires the social worker to be licensed in the state the client resides, I cannot provide teletherapy without also obtaining licensure in the state the client resides.

Teletherapy in the time of COVID-19

Thankfully, the ASWB exams are not testing the ever changing rules and regulations currently taking place as a result of COVID-19. (That being said, if you are providing teletherapym you absolutely want to keep yourself knowledgeable in this important area!). There are three key things we want you to keep in mind for your ASWB exams when it comes to teletherapy:

  1. First and foremost, find out what state your prospective client lives in.
  2. If they reside in a different state than the one you practice in, you must follow your state’s laws as well as the state laws where your client resides.
  3. For purposes of the exam, teletherapy is not appropriate for high risk clients (suicidal/homicidal or in crisis) or clients with boundary issues (for example, clients diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder).

Here is a free practice question to test your knowledge around teletherapy on the social work exams:

ASWB Practice Question

A social worker has been meeting with a client for two years. The client is about to graduate from college and move back to her home state. The client wishes to continue therapy with the social worker via teletherapy. The social worker is only licensed in the state the social worker resides. What is the FIRST thing the social worker should do? 

A. Decline to provide teletherapy because it is illegal to do so across state lines.

B. Determine whether the social worker’s state board allows teletherapy across state lines.

C. Determine whether the state board of the client’s residence allows teletherapy across state lines.

D.Continue to provide therapy due to the longstanding relationship established between therapist and client.


(Scroll for answer and rationale)














Answer and Rationale

The correct answer is B: to determine whether the social worker’s state board allows teletherapy across state lines. If this is allowed, we could then do C after this. If, however, the social worker’s state board does not allow this, then there would be no need to do C. This is why we do B first. A is incorrect because that is not a true statement, as it is not inherently illegal to provide teletherapy across state lines (it varies state to state). D is similarly incorrect because it does not acknowledge the fact that some states do not allow teletherapy across state lines, even if there is a longstanding relationship.

ASWB Masters and Clinical Exam Preparation 

How did you do with today’s question on teletherapy? Do you feel ready to successfully answer these questions on your ASWB exam? Whether you feel 100% ready (or 100% like you need more practice), know TDC has you covered. Law and ethics around teletherapy as they show up on the exam are thoroughly covered by TDC.

We are living in uncertain times and challenging times. We know that testing is up in the air for many of you due to the temporary closure of Pearson testing centers because of COVID-19. The good news is that (as it always has been), TDC is with you until you pass. We never charge for extensions and are here to help you get ready to pass your exam with CONFIDENCE, no matter when you’re testing. TDC provides both the factual content and reasoning skills to help you pass your exam. We know life is overwhelming right now, so we give you everything you need and nothing you don’t so your studying can be as focused as possible.

AND you can email your coach anytime you have questions as you go through the program (all of our coaches passed their exams with at least a 90%). TDC has helped THOUSANDS of social workers successfully pass their licensure exams. Are you next?



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