I have been working on my Social Media Policy for my private practice. This will eventually be available as a download on my Forms page and I will also distribute it to current clients.
Please note that this is currently a work in progress. There may be important things to add to this policy, but this is my first draft. If you have any comments or suggestions or think something is missing, please directly email me.
Also, anyone is welcome to use or adapt this form to your own practice. I know that many practitioners adopt different stances than my own when it comes to how they manage clinical care and their social media policy. Please consider making your own policies readily available to your clients so that it is clear and documented, even if your approach is to take it case-by-case.
I do not accept friend requests from current or former clients. This holds true on Facebook and LinkedIn and all other social networking sites. My reasons for this stance are that I believe that adding clients as friends can compromise confidentiality and blur the boundaries of our therapeutic relationship. If you have questions about this, please feel free to bring it up in-session and I’m happy to talk more about it.
I maintain a Facebook page for my professional practice. I do not allow clients to become fans of this page because I believe there is an even greater likelihood of compromised client privacy and I do not want others who may look through my fans to assume you are my client.
If you are my client and I see that you have become a fan of my Facebook page, you can expect me to delete you as a fan and bring it up in our session when I see you next.
Please note that you will always be able to view all my Page content without becoming a fan or you can subscribe to the page via RSS without creating a visible, public link to my Page.
I currently keep a professional Twitter stream and a blog on my practice website. If you use an easily recognizable (to me) name and I notice that you’ve followed me on Twitter, you can expect me to bring it up in therapy so that we can briefly discuss it.
My primary concern will be how it relates to your own privacy. There are more private ways to follow me on Twitter (such as subscribing using an RSS feed) which would eliminate your having a public link to my content. But you are welcome to use your own discretion in choosing whether to follow me. There is nothing I post here that I would not want you to see.
Please be aware that I will not follow you back.
I do not follow current or former clients on blogs or Twitter. If there are things you wish to share with me from your online life, I strongly encourage you to bring them into our sessions where we can process them together, during the therapy hour.
I do have a professional presence on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. I also keep a blog. You are always welcome to read my content on these sites if it is of interest to you. But please do not use these sites to send me messages or to interact with me outside of treatment. If you need to contact me between sessions, the best way is by phone. Email is second best, but only 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 other search engines. Exceptions to this 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, email) there may be a circumstance in which using a search engine to find another party close to you or seeing if you have or have posted to a blog, Facebook page, or Twitter may become necessary as part of checking on your welfare. These are extremely rare situations and If I ever resort to such means, I will definitely discuss this with you when we next meet.
I do not follow current or former clients on Google Reader. I also do not use this account to share articles with current or former clients. I share many links of interest via my Twitter account which you are welcome to read and I encourage you to bring your own items of interest into our sessions if there are things you want to share with me that you feel are relevant to your treatment.
I prefer to use email only to arrange or modify appointments. Please do not use email to send content related to your therapy sessions, as email is not completely secure or confidential. If you choose to communicate with me by email, please be aware that all emails are retained in the logs of your and my internet service providers. 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. You should also know that any email I receive from you, and any responses that I send to you, will be printed out by me and kept in your treatment record.