This document outlines my office policies related to use of Social Media. Please read it to understand how I conduct myself on the Internet as a mental health professional and how I propose to respond to various interactions that may occur on the Internet.
If you have any questions about 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. When I do, a notification will go out in the form of a blog post.
Social Media Contact and Requests for Contact
For privacy reasons, and since it may also blur the boundaries of our therapeutic relationship, I do not accept ‘friend’ or ‘contact’ requests from current or former clients on my Personal Facebook or LinkedIn accounts. If you have questions about this policy we can discuss them when we meet.
I keep a Facebook Fan Page for my professional practice to enable people to share my blog posts and practice updates with other Facebook users. All of the information shared on this page is available on my website. Please be aware that it may appear that you are a client if you become a Fan, so be sure this is not an issue for you. It comes down to whether you feel that a lack of anonymity might jeopardize your therapy. In any case I would be very happy to discuss this with you. Also note that neither my Fan Page nor any other social media pages represent requests for a testimonial, rating or endorsement from you, as per the B.C. Code of Ethics prohibition.
I publish a blog on my website and I post on Twitter, Google + and Facebook. My primary purpose for posting is to provide educational and inspirational information about psychological healing and well-being. I ordinarily do not read or respond to comments you or others may leave. I have no expectation that you, as my client, will want to follow my blog or my posts. However, if you choose to do so and I notice that you’ve followed me on a particular social media, we may briefly discuss its potential impact on our working relationship. Otherwise you may use your discretion in following me.
Note that I will not follow you back because viewing a client’s online activity can create confusion in regard to the purpose of such viewing, whether it’s part of your treatment or just to satisfy my curiosity. In addition, viewing your online activities without an explicit agreement for a limited purpose could negatively influence our working relationship. Of course, if there are things from your online life that you wish to share with me, please bring them into our sessions where we can view and explore them together.
If at any time you require a response from me, please do not use text messaging or any Social Networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or LinkedIn. These sites are not secure and I may not read these messages in a timely fashion, so communicating in this way could compromise 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 for quick, administrative issues such as changing appointment times, the best way to do so is by phone or direct email at firstname.lastname@example.org. See below regarding email interactions.
I prefer to restrict using email to arranging or modifying appointments. Please do not email me content related to your therapy sessions, as email is neither completely secure nor confidential. If you choose to communicate by email, be aware that all emails are retained in the logs of 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 medical record.
Business Review Sites
You may find my psychology practice listed or mentioned on sites such as Yelp, Yahoo Local, Bing, etc. Some of these sites may have added my practice without my knowledge or consent. If you should find my listing on any of these sites, please know that it is NOT a request for a testimonial, rating, or endorsement.
Of course, you have a right to express yourself on any site you wish. But due to confidentiality considerations, I cannot and will not respond to a review on a site whether it is positive or negative.
I would strongly counsel against using these sites to express your feelings about our work, since it is almost a certainty that I will never see it. But more importantly I hope that you would bring your feelings and reactions to our work directly into our sessions. This is an important part of therapy, even if you ultimately decide we are not a good fit.
Thank you for taking the time to review this 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 my personal attention so that we can resolve them.
Dr. Janice Stuart