Social Media Policy

My Private Practice Social Media Policy
This document outlines my policies related to the use of Social Media or other Internet/electronic/digital tools. Please read it to understand how I use social media and other internet, electronic, or digital tools as a mental health professional. After reading this policy, you will also know how you can expect me to respond to various interactions that may 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 I need to update this policy. If I do so, I will make this information available to you in writing.

Making Friend Requests or Contact Requests: In order to protect your confidentiality and to preserve the boundaries of our provider and client/patient relationship, I do not accept friend or contact requests from any current or former clients/patients on any social networking site (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc).
Following My Professional Blogs, Tweets, and Other Online Activity: I may have professional blogs or psychology related postings online (for example: on Twitter or my website blog). If you feel strongly about following these online, I suggest you use some more private ways to do so (example: RSS feed or locked Twitter list) in order to protect your confidentiality.

Following Former or Current Clients/Patients Online: I will not make any social networking contact requests of former or current clients/patients. I also do not follow your blogs, tweets, or other social media or internet postings. If you would like to share aspects of your online life with me, please feel free to bring these to your sessions to discuss them.

Contacting Me Online or via Text Message: Please do not use text/media messaging or messaging on Social Networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn to contact me. These sites are not secure and I may not read these messages in a timely fashion. I will not be able to respond to any requests or responses via these sites or via text message. 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 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 so is by phone.

Business/Provider Review Sites: You may find me or my psychology practice on sites such as Yelp, Healthgrades, 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 be aware that I am not requesting a testimonial, rating, or endorsement from you as my client/patient. I am ethically and legally obligated to protect your confidentiality. Also, to protect confidentiality,

I will not respond to any such postings/reviews. However, please feel free to discuss your thoughts and feelings about our work during your sessions with me.

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. 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-ins 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.

Email: Please do not email me content related to your therapy sessions, as email is not completely secure or confidential and I may not be able to respond. If you need to discuss an appointment, please contact me via telephone. If you choose to communicate with me by email, 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 emails I receive from you and any responses that I send to you become a part of your legal medical record.

Online Searches and Exceptions to Policy: I do not regularly search for clients/patients online, using Google or other search engines. Extremely rare 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 (coming to appointments, phone, etc.) there might be an instance in which using a search engine or other online way to find you, find someone close to you, or to check on 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.

Thank you for taking the time to review my Social Media Policy. Again, my goal is to protect your privacy and the work we do together. If you have questions or concerns about any of these policies and procedures or regarding our potential interactions, do bring them to my attention so that we can discuss them.