Social Media Policy: NICU Healing
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 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 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. If you have questions about this, please bring them up when we meet and we can talk more about it.
NICU Healing has a Facebook page to allow easy access to my blog posts and to provide NICU-specific updates to Facebook users who might not be familiar with the preemie/medically complex world of our babies. Most of the information on this page is also available on NICU Healing.
You are welcome to visit the NICU Healing Facebook page to find support and to have updates about what is happening in the NICU Healing world. However, keep in mind that this action may call your confidentiality into question. Although not all of the "likers" of NICU Healing are clients of the program, if you are concerned that others may deduce that you are a current or former client and feel uncomfortable with that, I discourage you from "liking" the NICU Healing page and thusly associating yourself with NICU Healing in a public forum.
Note that you are able to subscribe to the page via RSS without "liking" NICU Healing and creating a visible, public link to it. You are more than welcome to do this as well.
I publish a blog on my website and I post psychology and NICU-related news on Twitter. I have no expectation that you as a client will want to follow my blog or Twitter stream, and I hope that you don't feel pressure to do so.
If you have an easily recognizable name on Twitter 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. If you share this concern, there are more private ways to follow me on Twitter (such as using an RSS feed or a locked Twitter list), which would eliminate your having a public link to my content. You are welcome to use your own discretion in choosing whether to follow me.
Note that I will not follow you back. I only follow other health professionals on Twitter and I do not follow current or former clients on blogs or Twitter. 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 it up in our sessions together, because with your consent it's possible for us to discuss and explore your blog or online presence as well as the meaning that it makes for you.
Please also note that comments on the NICU Healing blog seeking out clinical advice or diagnosis will not be responded to, as that is a direct violation of your confidentiality if you are a client, and an inappropriate venue for therapy to take place if you are not a client. I do not diagnose, advise, or otherwise identify issues that may come up in comments on blog pieces that I post on NICU Healing. Feel free to comment on the NICU Healing blog, but please be mindful of the information that you share, as it is a public forum to which many people have access.
Please do not use SMS (mobile phone text messaging) or messaging on social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn to contact me. These sites are not secure and I may not read these messages in a timely fashion. Do not use wall postings, @replies, or other means of engaging with me in public online if we have an already established client/therapist relationship. Engaging with me in this manner 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 me between sessions, the best way to do so is by phone or email. See the Online Office Policy for more information regarding email interactions.
Use of Search Engines
It is not a part of my practice to search for clients on Google or Facebook or other search engines.
I do not follow current or former clients on Google Reader and I do not use Google Reader to share articles. If there are things you want to share with me that you feel are relevant to your treatment whether they are news items or things you have created, I encourage you to bring these items of interest into our sessions.
Business Review Sites
You may find NICU Healing 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 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's Ethics Code states under Principle 5/05 that it is unethical for psychologists to solicit testimonials: "Psychologists do not solicit testimonials from current therapy clients/patients or other persons who because of their particular circumstances are vulnerable to undue influence".
Of course, 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.
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.
If you feel I have done something harmful or unethical and you do not feel comfortable discussing it with me, you can always contact the California Board of Behavioral Science, which oversees licensing, and they will review the services I have provided.
(address phone and email of bbs)
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.