This document outlines my policies related to communication with clients, including the use of Social Media. Please read it to understand my views of the best way for us to communicate with each other, protect the privacy of the treatment, avoid dual role relationships, and focus on our work together.
What we talk about in psychotherapy sessions is private and confidential. In the context of a therapeutic relationship, we will be looking at your personal thoughts, feelings, emotions, and experiences in a way that is different from relationships outside of therapy. The safety of this work will depend in large part on the privacy of what we discuss, including an awareness that our relationship is not part of our social lives or our professional lives outside of our work together.
Out of respect for your confidentiality and our respective privacy, I am careful to avoid blurring the boundaries of our therapeutic relationship. Regarding social media, this basically means that I will not seek information about you online or through others, and ask that you avoid the same.
More specifically, to protect the private nature of our work and keep it separate from our lives outside of our work, I encourage clients to not discuss or post any information about our work with anyone else, including any form of social media. For my part, I do not use social media including Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google Reader. I do not publish a blog or use Twitter. I do not use mobile phone text messaging to communicate with clients. It follows that I do not friend, fan, follow or otherwise message on any social networking sites. You may find information about my psychology practice at my website, www.ecclesia-counselling.com. Beyond the information available on my website, I ask that you and I limit acquiring any other information about each other to what we discuss in my office. If you do come across personal or professional information about me online or through others, I encourage you to bring it up in our discussions so that we may understand any meaning it has in our work.
You may find my psychology practice listed on sites such as Yelp or other places which list businesses. Some of these sites include forums in which users rate their providers and add reviews. If you should find my psychology practice 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. While you have the right to express yourself on any site you wish, you should be aware that if you are using these sites to communicate indirectly with me regarding your feelings about our work, there is a good possibility I will never see it. If we are working together, I hope you will bring your feelings and reactions to me directly so that we can incorporate them into the therapy process. This is an important part of therapy, even if you or we decide ours is not a good fit.
It is not a regular part of my practice to search for clients on the internet. However, extremely rare exceptions may be made during times of crisis. If I have a reason to suspect that you or others are in danger, there might be an instance in which using a search engine or social media (to find you, find someone close to you, or to check in 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.
Be aware that if you are using location-based services on your mobile phone, you may be open to privacy issues related to using those services. If you have GPS tracking enabled on your device, it is possible that others may surmise that you are accessing psychological services.
My office uses email to communicate with clients only to arrange or modify appointments. Please do not email content related to your therapy prior to sessions or in between sessions, as email is not completely secure or confidential, and all emails are retained in the logs of internet service providers. You should be aware that any emails my office receives from you and any responses sent to you become a part of your legal record.
If I need to collaborate with other health care professionals as part of my clinical, ethical, or legal responsibilities, I will endevour to first discuss with you what is to be communicated, and I encourage you to do the same.
Thank you for reviewing my communications guidelines and for respecting these policies. I welcome your questions, thoughts, or concerns about them.