Setting Clear Boundaries & Expectations

Social Media Policy  image
Social Media Policy
Please read my policy on using social media and 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. I use social media for the purpose that it is a fantastic tool that helps people get informed and engaged and the following document outlines my policies related to using these means.
If you have any questions about my policy, please be sure to bring them up when we meet and we can talk more about it. Social media is also something that is constantly evolving and there may be times when I may update the policy. If this happens, I will post the policy on my website and inform you of the changes in your session.

Let’s discuss confidentiality!
You are the person that can decide what you want to keep confidential with regards to your sessions with me. As a member of the CCPA and my role as your therapist, I must keep our relationship completely confidential except in cases of where you might harm yourself or others (see my Informed Consent for specifics). Thus, if you post on any of my social media pages, you are opening the chance of people inferring about our relationship or asking you about your connection with me; you get to decide what you tell people. You have a choice as to what you reveal about yourself online, however I will not reveal my connection to you.

How I manage a variety of social media possibilities:
  • Friending:
    I do not accept friend or contact requests from current or former clients on any social networking site (Facebook, Instagram, etc). I believe that adding clients as friends or contacts on these sites can compromise your confidentiality and our individual privacy. It may also muddle the boundaries of our therapeutic relationship. I also do not interact with clients on social networking sites such as Instagram or Facebook. If you need to contact me between sessions, the best way to do so is by phone, or by email.

  • Following:
    I have no expectation that you as a client will want to follow my online presence. In fact, the CCPA Ethics Codes prohibit my soliciting testimonials from clients. As such I make a practice of deleting any comments regarding my services from current or former clients on these platforms.
    You are welcome to use your own discretion in choosing whether to follow me. Please note that I will not follow you back. I mainly follow other health professionals and local businesses on social media, and I do not follow current or former clients on social media platforms. My reasoning is that I believe casual viewing of clients’ online content outside of the counselling hour can create confusion regarding whether it is being done as a part of your treatment or to satisfy my personal curiosity. In addition, viewing your online activities without your consent and without our explicit arrangement towards a specific purpose could potentially have a negative influence on our working relationship. If there are things from your online life that you wish to share with me, please bring them into our sessions where we can view and explore them together, during the counselling hour.

  • Interacting:
    Please do not use messaging on social platforms sites to contact me. Also, please do not use wall postings, @replies, or other means of engaging with me in public online if we have an already established client/therapist relationship. These sites are not secure, and I may not read these messages in a timely fashion. Also, if there were an emergency, I would not be able to respond in a timely manner as I may not check these accounts regularly. The best way to interact with me is by email or phone. If you post on my social media wall’s 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. I will delete any requests regarding your sessions that appear on any of my social media platforms.

  • Use of Search Engines:
    You may have your own social media accounts (Blogs, Facebook/Instagram/Twitter accounts) however, I do not “google” my clients or look up information on them for any reason. It is important to me that I know you, as you are in my online office. If I do come across your information online, you can be assured that I will move on and avoid reading content.
    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, phone, or email) there might be an instance in which using a search engine (to find you, find someone close to you, or to check on your recent status updates) becomes required as part of ensuring your well-being. These are very unusual circumstances and if I ever resort to such means, I will fully document it and discuss it with you when we next meet.

  • Cell Phone Location Services:
    Many individuals use location-based services on their smartphone or tablets to enable friends and acquaintances to follow their itinerary via their mobile phones. Please be aware that use of location-based service on your smart phone may inform friends and acquaintances that you are visiting a counsellor, thus compromising your privacy and confidentiality.

  • Business Review Sites
    You may find my psychology practice on sites and search engines 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 my listing on any of these sites, please know that my listing is NOT a request for a testimonial, rating, or endorsement from you as my client.You have a right to express yourself on any site you wish. However, 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 my 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 we are working together, I hope that you will bring your feelings and reactions to our work directly into the counselling process. This can be an valuable part of therapy, even if you decide we are not a good fit. None of this is meant to keep you from sharing that you are in therapy with me wherever and with whomever you like. Confidentiality means that I cannot tell people that you are my client, and my Ethics Code prohibits me from requesting testimonials. But you are more than welcome to tell anyone you wish that I am your counsellor or how you feel about the treatment I provided to you, in any forum of your deciding. If you do choose to write something on a business review site, I hope you will keep in mind that you may be sharing personally revealing information in a public forum. I urge you to create a fictitious name that is not linked to your regular email address or friend networks for your own privacy and protection.