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 mental health professionals 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 we meet. 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.
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 meeting with your provider to discuss further.
We keep a Facebook Page for our professional practice to allow people to share our 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 our Page. We believe having clients as Facebook Fans creates a greater likelihood of compromised client confidentiality and 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.
Our primary concern is your privacy.
Our reasoning is that we believe casual viewing of clients’ online content outside of the therapy hour can create confusion in regard to whether it’s being done as a part of your treatment or to satisfy our personal curiosity. In addition, viewing your online activities without your consent and without our explicit arrangement towards a specific purpose could potentially have a negative influence on a positive working relationship. If there are things from your online life that you wish to share with your provider, please bring them into your sessions where you and your provider can view and explore them together, during the therapy hour.
Please do not use messaging on Social Networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn to contact us. 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 staff in public online if we have an already established client/therapist relationship. Engaging with us 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 us between sessions, the best way to do so is by phone. Direct email to your provider is second best for quick, administrative issues such as changing appointment times. See the email section below for more information regarding email interactions.
Use of Search Engines
It is NOT a regular part of our practice to search for clients on Google or Facebook or other search engines. Extremely rare exceptions may be made during times of crisis. If we have a reason to suspect that you are in danger and you have not been in touch with us via our usual means (coming to appointments, phone, or email) there might be an instance in which using a search engine (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 we ever resort to such means, we will fully document it and discuss it with you when we next meet.
Business Review Sites
You may find our 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 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 is positive or negative. We urge you to take your own privacy as seriously as we take our commitment of confidentiality to you. You should also be aware that if you are using these sites to communicate indirectly with us about your feelings about our work, there is a good possibility that we may never see it.
If we are working together, 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 we are not a good fit. None of this is meant to keep you from sharing that you are in therapy with us wherever and with whomever you like. Confidentiality means that we cannot tell people that you are our client and our Ethics Code prohibits us from requesting testimonials. But you are more than welcome to tell anyone you wish that you work with one of our staff or how you feel about the treatment we 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.
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. We do not place our offices 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. 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.
We prefer using email only to arrange or modify appointments. Please do not email us content related to your therapeutic work, as email is not completely secure or confidential. If you choose to communicate with us 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 we receive from you and any responses that we send to you become a part of your legal record.
Cookies, Log Files, and Web Beacons
Like many other Web sites, we makes use of log files. These files merely logs visitors to the site – usually a standard procedure for hosting companies and a part of hosting services’ analytics. The information inside the log files includes internet protocol (IP) addresses, browser type, Internet Service Provider (ISP), date/time stamp, referring/exit pages, and possibly the number of clicks. This information is used to analyze trends, administer the site, track user’s movement around the site, and gather demographic information. IP addresses, and other such information are not linked to any information that is personally identifiable.
Third Party Privacy Policies
Terms of Service
Terms and Conditions of Use
Last Updated on November 11, 2018.
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