SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY
This document outlines office policies related to use of Social Media. Please read it to understand how I conduct myself on the Internet as a mental health professional and how you can expect me to respond to various interactions that may occur between us on the Internet.
If you have any questions about anything within this document, I encourage you to bring them up when you meet with me. As new technology develops and the Internet changes, there may be times when I need to update this policy. If I do so, I will notify you in writing of any policy changes and make sure you have a copy of the updated policy.
I do NOT accept friend or contact requests from current or former clients on any social networking site (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.). I believe that adding clients as friends or contacts on these sites can compromise your confidentiality and our respective privacy. It may also blur the boundaries of our therapeutic relationship. If you have questions about this, please bring them up when you meet with your counselor.
Please do not use messaging on Social Networking sites such as Facebook or LinkedIn to contact us. These sites are not secure and I may not read these messages in a timely fashion. Do not use Wall postings, @replies, or other means of engaging with me in public online if I have an already established client/counselor relationship. Engaging with me this way could compromise your confidentiality. It may also create the possibility that these exchanges become a part of your legal medical record and will need to be documented and archived in your chart. If you need to contact me in between sessions, the best way to do so is by phone.
Use of Search Engines
It is NOT a regular part of our practice to search for clients on Google or Facebook or other search engines. Extremely rare exceptions may be made during times of crisis. If I have a reason to suspect that you are in danger and you have not been in touch with me via our usual means (coming to appointments or phone) there might be an instance in which using a search engine (to find you or find someone close to you) becomes necessary as part of ensuring your welfare. These are unusual situations and if I ever resort to such means, I will fully document it and discuss it with you at your next session.
Business Review Sites
You may find my psychology practice on sites such as Yelp, Healthgrades, Yahoo Local, Bing, or other places which list businesses. Some of these sites include forums in which users rate their providers and add reviews. Many of these sites comb search engines for business listings and automatically add listings regardless of whether the business has added itself to the site. If you should find our listing on any of these sites, please know that our listing is NOT a request for a testimonial, rating, or endorsement from you as our client. The American Psychological Association’s Ethics Code states under Principle 5.05 that it is unethical for psychologists to solicit testimonials: “Psychologists do not solicit testimonials from current therapy clients/patients or other persons who because of their particular circumstances are vulnerable to undue influence.”
Of course, you have a right to express yourself on any site you wish. But due to confidentiality, I cannot respond to any review on any of these sites whether it is positive or negative. I urge you to take your own privacy as seriously as I take our commitment of confidentiality to you. You should also be aware that if you are using these sites to communicate indirectly with me about your feelings about our work, there is a good possibility that I may never see it.
If I are working together, I hope that you will bring your feelings and reactions to our work directly into the therapy process. This can be an important part of therapy, even if you decide I are not a good fit. None of this is meant to keep you from sharing that you are in counseling with me wherever and with whomever you like. Confidentiality means that I cannot tell people that you are our client and our Ethics Code prohibits me from requesting testimonials. But you are more than welcome to tell anyone you wish that I provide counseling to you or how you feel about the treatment I provided to you, in any forum of your choosing.
If you feel I have done something harmful or unethical and you do not feel comfortable discussing it with us, you can always contact the Board of Psychology, which oversees licensing, and they will review the services I have provided.
State Board of Psychology
P.O. Box 2649, Harrisburg, PA 17105-2649
Phone – (717) 783-7155
Fax – (717) 787-7769
If you use location-based services on your mobile phone, you may wish to be aware of the privacy issues related to using these services. I do not place my practice as a check-in location on sites such as Foursquare, Loopt, etc. However, if you have GPS tracking enabled on your device, it is possible that others may surmise that you are a therapy client due to regular check-ins at my office on a weekly basis. Please be aware of this risk if you are intentionally “checking in” from our office or if you have a passive LBS app enabled on your phone.
Email and Text Messaging
I prefer using email and text messaging only to arrange or modify appointments or to exchange forms or resources. Please do not email or text message me content related to your therapy sessions, as these are not completely secure or confidential. If you choose to communicate with me by email or text message, be aware that all emails are retained in the logs of your and our Internet service providers and all text messages are retained in the logs of the cellular telephone provider. While it is unlikely that someone will be looking at these logs, they are, in theory, available to be read by the system administrator(s) of the Internet service provider or the phone company. You should also know that any emails and/or text messages I receive from you and any responses that I send to you become a part of your legal record.
Thank you for taking the time to review our Social Media Policy. If you have questions or concerns about any of these policies and procedures or regarding our potential interactions on the Internet, do bring them to my attention so that I can discuss them. Please keep this policy for your records and sign the following page acknowledging you have read and understand this policy in its entirety.