Private Practice Social Media Policy
This policy has been compiled by Dawn Stemmer of Into Health Wellbeing and adapted from the original work with kind permission of the author Keely Kolmes, Psy.D., who licensed it under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0
The document outlines my social media policies for Into Health Wellbeing and follows the Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) Guidelines for Security and Confidentiality. This document outlines my policies related to use of Social Media and client interactions. Please read it to understand how I conduct myself on the Internet as a qualified and professional hypnotherapist and therapist and 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 notify you in writing of any policy changes and make sure you have a copy of the updated policy. I will also change information on my website accordingly.
I do not accept friend or contact requests from current or former clients on any social networking site (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc). I 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. I also do not interact with clients on social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. If you need to contact me between sessions, the best way to do so is by phone, or by email. If you have questions about this, please bring them up when we meet and we can talk more about it.
I occasionally post articles related to wellness and psychology on my business face book page and website. I have no expectation that you as a client will wish to follow or comment on any article and Comments action buttons have been disabled on my website. However, if you use an easily recognizable name on face book and I happen to notice that you’ve followed me there, we may briefly discuss it and its potential impact on our working relationship. My primary concern is your privacy and I hope you share this concern. You are welcome to use your own discretion in choosing whether to seek out or follow me.
I only follow other health professionals on face book and I do not follow current or former clients on any other media platforms. My reasoning is that I 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 my 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 our working relationship. 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, during the therapy hour.
Use of Search Engines
It is not a regular part of my practice to search for clients on Google or Facebook 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, or phone contact) 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 I ever resort to such means, I will fully document it and discuss it with you when we next meet.
Business Review Sites
You may find my business and professional profile on sites such as Google, Yahoo Local, 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 know that my listing is NOT a request for a testimonial, rating, or endorsement from you as my client.
You have a right to express yourself on any site you wish. But due to confidentiality, I cannot respond to any review on any of these sites whether it is positive or negative. I urge you to take your own privacy as seriously as I take my commitment of confidentiality to you. You should also be aware that if you are using these sites to communicate indirectly with me about your feelings about our work, there is a good possibility that I may never see it.
If we are working together, I 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 me wherever and with whomever you like.
Confidentiality means that I cannot tell people that you are my client and my Ethics Code prohibits me from requesting testimonials. But you are more than welcome to tell anyone you wish that I’m your therapist or how you feel about the treatment I provided to you, in any forum of your choosing.
Safe Guarding Issues Useful Information Leaflet
The Children’s Act 1989: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ ukpga/1989/41/contents
The Protection of Children Act 1999: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ ukpga/1999/14/contents
Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ ukpga/2006/47/contents
Disclosure and Barring Service https://www.gov.uk/government/ organisations/disclosure-and-barring-service
NSPCC information regarding the legal definition of a child http://www.nspcc.org.uk/Inform/research/questions/definition_of_a_child_wda59396. html
“No Secrets – Guidance on developing and implementing multi agency policies and procedures to protect vulnerable adults from abuse” (Department of Health/Home Office, 2000.) http://www.elderabuse.org.uk/Documents/ Other%20Orgs/No%20Secrets.pdf