Social Media Policy for Therapy Clients
My primary reason for creating a social media policy and sharing with you as my client to establish clear boundaries at the beginning of therapy. My primary concern is your well-being as my client and to protect your privacy. If have any concerns about this policy now or at any point during our time working together (or after) please let me know and we can discuss.
Dr. Ryan Hooper
You are ultimately the judge of what you want to keep confidential. I must keep my relationship with you completely confidential except in cases of where you might harm yourself or others (see informed consent for details). Thus, if you post on my page, you are opening up the possibility of people making assumptions about our relationship or asking you about your connection to me. You get to decide what you tell people. You have a choice as to what you reveal about yourself online; however, I will not reveal my connection to you.
Thus, this is how I handle different social media options:
- FRIENDING: To respect your privacy and confidentiality, I do not accept friend requests on my personal Facebook page from current or former clients on any social networking site.
- FANNING: You may “like” my Facebook business page. However, the information on my Facebook page is often on my website as well. If you “like” my page, you are choosing to reveal that you are connected to me in some way. My business page exists to be a forum of information and inspiration. I will not engage in conversations with you on that page. However, I am happy if you find it helpful.
- FOLLOWING: I sometimes publish a blog on my website and I post psychology news on several social media sites. I have no expectation that clients will want to follow my blog or social media pages. You are welcome to use your own discretion in choosing whether to follow me. Note that I will not follow you back. 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 therapy.
- INTERACTING: Please do not use messaging on Social Networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn to contact me. If there were an emergency, I would not be able to respond timely as I do not check these accounts regularly. The best way to interact with me is by email or phone. If you post on my wall 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.
- USE OF SEARCH ENGINES: You may have a Facebook page, Instagram account or Twitter account. I do not “Google” my clients or look up information on them for any reason. I think it is important that I know you as you are in my office. If I do come across your information online, I will move on and avoid reading content.
- BUSINESS REVIEW SITES: I do have a Yelp page and other directory pages. 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. The American Psychological Association Code of Ethics says it is unethical for psychologists to solicit testimonials. You have a right to express yourself on any site you wish. If you do post a review, I cannot respond 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. 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. If you do choose to write something on a business review site, I hope you will keep in mind that you may be sharing personally revealing information in a public forum. I urge you to create a pseudonym that is not linked to your regular email address or friend networks for your own privacy and protection.
- EMAIL: I prefer using email only to arrange or modify appointments. Please do not email me content related to your therapy or assessment sessions, as email is not completely secure or confidential. 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.
- TEXT: Sometimes clients text me to request an appointment time or to let me know if they are running late to an appointment. Please know that text isn’t always secure. I am fine with brief texts related to your appointment only.
- CONCLUSION: Thank you for taking the time to review my 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 attention so that we can discuss them.