This document outlines our office policies related to use of Social Media. Please read it to understand how we conduct ourselves 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 with your therapist. 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 our updated policy.
We cannot accept friend or contact requests from current or former patients on any social networking site (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) We believe that adding patients 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.
We keep both a Facebook page (CornerCanyonCounseling) and a Pinterest page (CornerCanyon). This allows individuals to follow information that we find particularly helpful and/or inspiring.
You are welcome to view and read these pages. You can also “like” the page from our website or your Facebook or Pinterest page and share anything that you wish to share. We will not “friend” or “like” you in return. Be aware that if you like our Facebook pages or Pinterest page, you may show up on a list of friend. This may be a compromise to your confidentiality- it’s up to you.
Our concern is your privacy. There are more private ways to follow us which eliminate you having a public link to our content. You are welcome to use your own discretion in choosing whether to follow us or not.
Please do not use SMS, social media messaging, or email to contact us. This is not secure communication and we will likely not read these messages in a timely manner. Do not use Wall postings, replies, or other means of engaging with us in public online. Engaging with us 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 medical chart.
USE OF SEARCH ENGINES
It is not a regular part of this practice to search clients on Google or Facebook or any other search engine. Our reasoning is that casual viewing of patient’s online content outside of the therapy hour can create confusion in regards to whether it’s being done as part of your treatment or to satisfy personal curiosity. In addition, viewing your online activities without your consent and without our explicit arrangement toward a specific purpose could potentially have a negative influence on our working relationship. If there are things online that you wish to share with us, please bring them into our sessions where we can view and explore them together during the therapy hour.
Extremely rare exceptions may be made during times of crisis. If we have reasons to suspect that you are in danger and you have not been in touch with us through approved means (coming to appointments, phone calls) there might be an instance in which using a search engine (to find you, find someone close to you, or 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 my listing is NOT a request for a testimonial, rating, or endorsement from you.
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 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, 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 you are working with a therapist in our office, 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 at Corner Canyon Counseling and Psychological Services wherever and with whomever you like. Confidentiality means that we cannot tell people that you are a patient here and my Ethics Code prohibits me from requesting testimonials. However, you are more than welcome to tell anyone you wish that you are a patient here or how you feel about the treatment provided at our center.
If you do choose to write something on a business review site, we hope you will keep in mind tht 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 use location-based services on your mobile phone, you may wish to be aware of the privacy issues related to using these services. If you have GPS tracking enabled on your device, it is possible that other may surmise that you are a psychotherapy patient due to regular check-ins at out office on a weekly basis. 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, tablet, or laptop.
We prefer using email only to arrange or modify appointments or to address billing issues and only with the office manager and/or the receptionist. Please do not contact the office manager with therapeutic or personal issues nor use her/his email as a means to contact your therapist with therapeutic issues. We do not give out therapist’s emails. Please do not attempt to guess at or find your therapist’s email. Email is not secure or confidential. Your emails are retained in the logs of your Internet Service Provider. 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 ISP. You should also be aware that any emails we may receive from you and any responses we may send to you become a part of your legal record.
If you need to contact your therapist between sessions, the best way to do so is by phone. The phone is answered by the office manager or receptionist during regular office hours and by an Answering Service after office hours. The Answering Service will forward any emergency call to your therapist. Any routine call will be sent to our fax machine to be returned on the next business day.
Thank you for taking the time to review our 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 our attention so that we can discuss them.