SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY
Last updated: Dec 10, 2018
While social media offers fantastic tools with which to share information and facilitate specific kinds of connection, its use has many implications in the therapeutic encounter. The purpose of this social media policy is to inform you of my boundaries as well as actions we may both take to protect our therapeutic relationship, guard confidentiality during and after treatment, and maintain your privacy.
Ultimately, you may share what you wish regarding your treatment with whomever you wish. Acting as your therapist, however, I have particular legal and ethical obligations to consider which is reflected in the social media policy below.
Risks to Consider
Social Media and Public Spaces
Social media and other online sites should be considered a “public” setting in which confidentiality cannot be assumed or protected as it can be during therapy sessions. Even something as simple as clicking a “Like” button may reveal your name and/or photo and, if identifiable, could risk your confidentiality.
Therapy is Deeply Personal
Consider that anything you share online about your work with me may be highly personal and, in hindsight, you may later regret having shared it so openly.
Often, what is said online or on social media cannot be “unsaid” (e.g. deleted) and becomes archived by other sites unrelated to the original place in which you shared the information.
Not a Substitute for Direct Communication
Posts or comments made on any social media platform (Facebook, Instagram) should not be considered a substitute for direct communication with me in person or by phone.
Committed to Your Privacy Online
Keeping Clear Boundaries
I will strive to protect our professional relationship and maintain clear boundaries so that you may later return to therapy with security and control over what was shared or not shared with me.
I will neither initiate connection/contact through social media or dating sites nor approve such a request by you to a personal account of mine. This includes “friending” (Facebook), “following” (Instagram), or similar terms describing direct association. Public business accounts (such as my Facebook Page or business Instagram account) are exceptions and you may like/follow these as you wish keeping in mind the privacy implications as noted above.
Responding to Social Media Posts/Comments
Because of privacy laws, I am unable to respond directly online to any posts or comments (positive or negative) referencing your treatment. Clients may wish to address concerns with me directly in-person, by phone, or by postal mail instead. If I am still in contact with you and am made aware of the posts/comments, I may bring them up with you if clinically relevant.
No, I Don’t Look You Up
I do NOT search for information about you online or through any social media without your consent. I trust my clients to share when they are ready. You should be in charge of this disclosure process.
Online Reviews and Why I Don’t Request Them for my Therapy Services
Ethically, I cannot and will not request testimonials from you for my therapy services (nor should any other therapist). Any request from a website that asks you to review my services is not initiated by me and is not to be construed as a specific request for a testimonial in any way. Many services automate these and I have no control over them, even if I’m not on the site/platform.
The reason I don’t solicit testimonials is due to the highly personal nature of therapy and the potential for undue influence. Personal experiences and results in therapy are quite unique, so it’s hard to make fair comparisons and make predictions from testimonials of others. Besides all that, ethical codes forbid psychotherapists from soliciting testimonials.
Thank you for reviewing this social media policy and reflecting on its relevance to you. Social media continually evolves and I may update this policy accordingly. When I do so, I will post the updated version of this policy to my website and (for clients) inform you of changes in our next session.
Please let me know of any questions or concerns you may have so that we can be proactive in maintaining a healthy professional relationship.