My Private Practice Social Media Policy
This document outlines my office policies related to the 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 can occur between us on the Internet.
If you have any questions about anything within this document, I encourage you to bring them up when we meet. As new technology develops and the Internet changes, there may be times when you 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, Instagram, 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 we meet and we can talk more about it.
I keep a Facebook Page for my professional practice to allow people to share my blog posts and practice updates with other Facebook users. All the information shared on this page is available on my website.
You are welcome to view my Facebook page and read or share articles posted there, but I do not accept clients as Fans of this page. I believe having clients as Facebook Fans creates a greater likelihood of compromised client confidentiality and I feel it is best to be explicit to all may view my list of Fans to know that they will not find any client names on that list. In addition, the American Psychological Association’s Ethics Code prohibits my soliciting testimonials from clients. I feel that the term “Fan” comes too close to an implicit request for public endorsement of my practice.
Note that you should be able to subscribe to the page via RSS without becoming a Fan and without creating a visible, public link to my Page. You are more than welcome to do this.
I publish a blog on my website and post on Instagram and my Facebook pages. I have no expectation that you as a client will want to follow my blog or Facebook and Instagram . However, if you use an easily recognizable name on Facebook or Twitter and realize that you have followed me there, we can briefly discuss it and its potential impact on our working relationship.
My primary concern is your privacy. If you share this concern, there are more private ways to follow me on Facebook, which would eliminate having a public link to my content. You are welcome to use your own discretion in choosing whether to follow me.
Note that I will not follow you back. I only follow other health professionals on Facebook and Instagram and I do not follow current or former clients on blogs. My reasoning is that I believe casual viewing of clients’ on- line content outside of the therapy hour can create confusion in regard to whether it’s being done as a part of your treatment or to satisfy my personal curiosity. In addition, viewing your on-line 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 on-line life that you wish to share with me, please bring them into our sessions where we can view and explore them together, during the therapy hour.
Communicating with clients
Please do not use SMS (mobile phone text messaging) or messaging on Social Networking sites such as Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn to contact me. 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 on-line if we have an already established client / therapist 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 between sessions, the best way to do this is by phone. Direct email at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org for quick administrative issues such as changing appointment times. Please see the email section below for more information regarding email interactions.
Use of Search Engines
It is NOT a regular part of my practice to search for clients on Google or Facebook or other search engines. Extremely rare can be 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 (by appointment, 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 your recent status updates) 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 when we next meet.
I do not follow current or former customers on Google Reader and I do not use Google Reader to share articles. If there are things you want to share with me that you feel are relevant to your treatment whether they are new items or things you have created, I encourage you to bring these articles of interest to our sessions.
Business Review Sites
You can find my therapy practice on sites like 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 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.
The American Psychological Association’s Ethics Code states under Principle 5.05 that it is unethical for psychologists to solicit testimonials: “Therapists 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 the 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 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 therapy process. This can be an important part of therapy, even if you decide we are not a good fit. None of this is meant to prevent 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 Ethnics Code prohibits me from requesting testimonials. But you are more than welcome to tell anyone you wish that I’m your therapist or how you feel about my treatment I provided to you, in any forum of your choosing.
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 pseudonym that is not linked to your regular email address or friend networks for your own privacy and protection.
If you feel I have done something harmful or unethical and you do not feel comfortable discussing it with me, you can always contact the South Carolina LLR, which oversees licensing, and they will review the services I have provided.
South Carolina LLR 110 Centerview Dr, Columbia, SC 29210
(803) -896-4300 ContactLLR@llr.sc.gov
Location Based Services
If you have used the 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 various sites such as Foursquare, Gowalla, 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-ups at my office on a weekly basis. Please be aware of this risk if you are intentionally “checking in,” from my office or if you have a passive LBS app enabled on your phone.
© Joset Rosado,LISW-CP – Social Media Policy – 03/16/2020