Articles For Clinicians Using Social Media

A summary of my various writings for psychotherapists who wish to use Social Media in mindful and ethical ways. It will be updated regularly for those who are only interested in this type of information. For consultation and other products, check out my shop.

8 ONLINE CE’s: Check out my course: Digital and Social Media Ethics for Psychotherapists. This course fulfills California’s ethics and law requirements and may qualify you for an insurance discount. Check with your provider. CE units are available for psychologists, MFT’s, LCSW’s, counselors, nurses, and others.
Social Media Policy Twitter Status Updates & Blogging
Facebook Yelp & Business Review Sites
Foursquare, Loopt, &LBS Google & Search Engines
LinkedIn Email & Documentation
Groupon & Psychology Today Ads General Guidelines

Social Media Policy

My Private Practice Social Media Policy – The policy I share with my clients as part of our treatment agreement which explains how I conduct myself on the Internet and how I will respond to potential interactions between us.

Private Practice Social Media Policy by Dr. Keely Kolmes is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Other clinicians may copy, share, or adapt this policy to suit your own practice needs, but you may not use this work for commercial purposes.

If you use my policy for training or educational purposes, you must cite me as the original author.

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Twitter, Status Updates, & Blogging

Managing Twitter as a Mental Health Professional – An overview of Twitter and guidelines for therapists who wish to use it.

You Have Major Depressive Disorder. Mind if I Tweet That? – A reminder of our need to be cautious about what we share with our friend networks. Inspired by a recent news story about hospital employees violating HIPAA and privacy policies on social networks.

An Introduction to Media Psychology for Bloggers and Tweeters – Outlines some of the issues to be aware of when creating a social media presence and some of the ethical challenges related to becoming a media psychologist. Provides some excellent resources for those wishing to learn more.

A psychotherapist’s guide to Facebook and Twitter: Why clinicians should give a Tweet! – Article I wrote for psychotherapy.net. documenting some of my personal challenges with using social media and why I came to develop a presence on Twitter. Clinicians may register to get 1 CE credit for reading this article.

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Facebook

Managing Facebook as a Mental Health Professional -  information about privacy, shared friend networks, and some distinctions between profiles and pages.

You Have Major Depressive Disorder. Mind if I Tweet That? – A reminder of our need to be cautious about what we share with our friend networks. Inspired by a recent news story about hospital employees violating HIPAA and privacy policies on social networks.

How Facebook is Getting it Wrong: New Privacy Settings Offer Less Privacy – Describes how the Facebook privacy changes in December 2009 affected people who may have previously chosen more restrictive privacy settings.

Should Mental Health Professionals Block Clients on Facebook? – A post about whether blocking clients on Facebook is a reasonable response to new limited privacy settings offered by Facebook.

I’m Not a Rock Star! (More Thoughts on Facebook Fanning) – Expresses some of my difficulties with accepting clients as Fans on Facebook business pages.

More privacy issues on Facebook – April, 2010. I provide a walk-through of adding a bit more security to your profile, although it is becoming harder to really completely secure any information on Facebook. Be aware that Facebook has defaulted all user profiles to “Instant Personalization,” and you must opt-out if you don’t want this information shared.

A psychotherapist’s guide to Facebook and Twitter: Why clinicians should give a Tweet! – Article I wrote for psychotherapy.net. documenting some of my personal challenges with using social media and why I came to develop a presence on Twitter. Clinicians may register to get 1 CE credit for reading this article.

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Google & Search Engines

The Google Question: Should Therapists Google Their Clients? – A response to DeeAnna Merz Nagel’s blog which initially posed the question.

Google Buzz Alarms a Psychotherapist – My response to Google Buzz which turned gmail into a Social Network in February, 2010.

People in Your Social Circle: Google Social Sharing & Yahoo Updates – Dr. Kathleen Young and I exchanged ideas about the challenges of using social media as clinicians, including Google’s beta version of People in Your Social Circle. Clinicians will also want to take note of upcoming changes for Yahoo users.

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LinkedIn

LinkedIn for Mental Health Professionals – Describes some clinical and ethical concerns for therapists wondering whether they want to accept contact requests from current or former clients.

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Yelp

The Yelp Dilemma: Clients Reviewing Their Therapists on Review Sites – Geared more towards clients who are considering writing a Yelp review of a therapist. But therapists who are considering putting up a Yelp page need to be aware that it is a violation of all mental health ethics code to request testimonials from current clients.

For therapists (or others engaged in confidential services) who are distressed to find themselves listed on Yelp, some are opting to post a disclaimer similar to the one I’ve posted on my own page. I invite anyone to copy it or edit it to reflect your own language. I did this since Yelp refused to remove my listing, claiming that it’s public information and they will not remove listings.

SXSW 2012 – WARNING: Are Online Reviews Bad For Your Health? – I was on a panel at SXSW this spring which addressed the issue of online reviews. You can read the tweets and hear the full audio at this link.

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Foursquare, Loopt & Other Location Based Sites

Location Based Check-in Sites for Mental Health Professionals – My musings on whether it’s a good idea to place your practice on sites like Foursquare, Loopt, and others and what ethical issues this may raise.

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Email & Documentation of Electronic Messages

Email Tips for Clinicians – Factors to consider related to email, listservs, and social networking.

Additional Thoughts on Documentation for Clinicians – A response to Ofer Zur’s article on Record-Keeping of Phone Messages, Email and Texts in Psychotherapy & Counseling.

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Groupon & Psychology Today Advertising

The week of July 26, 2010, Psychology Today opted many users into a new call tracking service which replaced clinician’s office phone numbers with a new virtual phone number. This raised several key concerns related to clinical business and patient privacy.

My response to the question of whether Groupon and Other “Deals for Mental Health Professionals are good ways for us to advertise and offer discounts to the public for psychotherapy services.

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General Guidelines

CrossCurrents Special Issue on the Digital Couch – This post links to an article which incorporates many of my guidelines for therapists who wish to avoid boundary blurring with clients on the Internet. From this blog post, you may download a digital copy of the article.

Kolmes, K., Nagel, D.M, Anthony, K. (2011). Ethical framework for the use of social media by mental health professionalsTILT Magazine: Issue 3, January, 2011, pp. 20-29. This is a framework that DeeAnna Nagel and Kate Anthony and I co-authored for the Online Therapy Institute.

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