Social Media Policy

Private Practice Social Media Policy

This document outlines our office policies related to use of Social Media. Please read it to understand how we conduct ourselves on the Internet as a mental health professional and how you can expect us to respond to various interactions that may occur between us on the Internet.

If you have any questions about anything within this document, we encourage you to bring them up when you meet with your clinician. As new technology develops and the Internet changes, there may be times when we need to update this policy. If we do so, we will notify you in writing of any policy changes and make sure you have a copy of the updated policy.

Friending

We do not accept friend or contact requests from current or former clients on any social networking site (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc). We 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.

Following

We keep a Facebook Page for our professional practice to allow people to share my blog posts and practice updates with other Facebook users.

You are welcome to view our Facebook Page and read or share articles posted there, but we do not accept clients as Fans of this Page. We believe having clients as Facebook Fans creates a greater likelihood of compromised client confidentiality and we feel it is best to be explicit to all who may view our list of Fans to know that they will not find client names on that list.

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 our Page. You are more than welcome to do this.

We publish a blog on our website and we post psychology news on social media platforms. We have no expectation that you as a
client will want to follow our blog or social media streams. However, if you use an easily recognizable name on Twitter and we happen to notice that you’ve followed us there, we may briefly discuss it and its potential
impact on our working relationship. Note you will not be followed back on any platform.

Interacting

Please do not use SMS (mobile phone text messaging) or messaging on Social Networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn to contact your clinician. These sites are not secure and we may not read these messages in a timely fashion. 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. Engaging with your clinician in 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 your clinician between sessions, the best way to do so is by phone. Direct email is second best for quick, administrative issues such as changing appointment times. See the email section below for more information regarding email interactions.

Business Review Sites

You may find my psychology practice on sites such as 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 our practice listing on any of these sites, please know that our listing is NOT a request for a testimonial, rating, or endorsement from you as our client. Of course, you have a right to express yourself on any site you wish. But due to confidentiality, we cannot
respond to any review on any of these sites whether it i s positive or negative. We urge you to take your own privacy as seriously as we take our commitment our confidentiality to you. You should also be aware that if you are using these sites to communicate indirectly with your counselor about your feelings about your work together, there is a good possibility that they may never see it.

We 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 you and your therapist are not a good fit. None of this is meant to keep you from sharing that you are in therapy with whomever you like.

Confidentiality means that we cannot tell people that you are a client and our Ethics Code prohibits us from requesting testimonials. But you are more than welcome to tell anyone you wish that you are in therapy or how you feel about the treatment provided to you, in any forum of your choosing. If you do choose to write something on a business review site, we hope you will keep in mind that you may be sharing personally revealing information in a public forum. We urge you to create a pseudonym that is not linked to your regular email address or friend networks for your own privacy and protection.

Location-Based Services

If you used location-based services on your mobile phone, you may wish to be aware of the privacy issues related to using these services. Our practice is not placed 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-ins at our office on a weekly basis.
Please be aware of this risk if you are intentionally “checking in,” from our office or if you have a passive LBS app enabled on your phone.

Email

We prefer a call and then using email only to arrange or modify appointments. Please do not email us content related to your therapy sessions, as email is not completely secure or confidential. If you choose to communicate with me byemail, be aware that all emails are retained in the logs of your and our 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 emails we receive from you and any responses that we send to you become a part of your legal record.

Conclusion

Thank you for taking the time to review our Social Media Policy. If you have questions or concerns about any of these policies and procedures or regarding our potential interactions on the Internet, do bring them to your clinician’s attention so that they can be discussed.

Adapted from the Social Media Policy of Dr. Keely Kolmes



24100 Chagrin Blvd Suite 125
Beachwood, OH 44122

intake@ascensioncounseling.com
833-25HEART/833-254-3278

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