Please Read Carefully
Because I am a Registered Psychologist (#1541) I have created this document which 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 I propose to respond to various interactions that may occur on the Internet. If you are my client and have any questions about 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.
Social Media Contact and Requests for Contact
For privacy reasons, and since it may also blur the boundaries of our therapeutic relationship, I do not accept ‘Friend’ requests from current or former clients on my Personal Facebook social media account or any other such “friendship-based” locations. However, anyone is free to ‘Follow” or “Like” my “Public” pages in any public or professional-based social media outlets, including on Facebook, since I have chosen to design and manage these for the purposes of information sharing and for public utilization and education.
I keep a Facebook “Public Page” for my professional psychotherapy practice to enable people to share my posts and practice updates with other Facebook users. My primary purpose for posting to this page is to provide educational and inspirational information about psychological healing and well-being and this venue is a resource for anyone (including clients) to access and utilize. You may use your discretion in following me. However, as my client, I have no expectation that you follow my posts or any other social media outlet where my material can be found. If you choose to access any public material, we may briefly discuss its potential impact on our working relationship. In order to ensure privacy, I do not accept “Friend” requests from clients, even though the material on this public page is designed to be shared with anyone. Please be aware that on Facebook, the name of anyone who comments or indicates that they “like” a post is available for anyone to see, whether or not I know that person or whether or not that person is or ever has been a client of mine. So, before making any comments or indicating that you “like” any post on the page, be sure this is not an issue for you personally or, if you are a current or former client of mine, that the lack of anonymity does not jeopardize your therapy in any way. In any case, if you have questions about this policy we can discuss them when we meet. Also note that none of my social media pages represent requests for a testimonial, rating or endorsement from you, as per the B.C. Code of Ethics prohibition.
It is important to note that I will not follow you back in any medium because viewing a client’s online activity can create confusion in regard to the purpose of such viewing, whether it’s part of your treatment or just to satisfy my curiosity. In addition, viewing your online activities without an explicit agreement for a limited purpose could negatively influence our working relationship. Of course, 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.
Other Social Media Activity
Because in addition to being a psychologist, I am also a professional author and chef, I have an internet presence that is separate from the consulting work that I do with my clients as a psychotherapist
As an author, I publish a blog, recipes, and articles. I also have separate websites, author pages, and media associated with activities in my capacity as an author, speaker, and chef. My social media presence is broad-based, including but not limited to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Google +, Tumblr, YouTube, and the like. In addition to the internet medium, you may also find my submissions and interviews in other print, radio and television media as well. My articles and recipes can be found in a variety of print and online magazines, newsletters, and blogs. All of these activities are focused on information associated with my writings, inspirational teachings, cooking, and speaking engagements and activities.
If you are my client and need to contact me between sessions for quick, administrative issues such as changing appointment times, the best way to do so is by phone or direct email. (See below regarding email interactions.) While I do have texting capacities, I often do not read these messages in a timely fashion. If at any time you require a response from me, please do not use any Social Networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, or my blog or website. These sites are not secure and I may not read these messages in a timely fashion, so communicating in this way could compromise 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.
I prefer to restrict using email to arranging or modifying appointments. Please do not email me content related to your therapy sessions, as email is neither completely secure nor confidential. If you choose to communicate by email, be aware that all emails are retained in the logs of 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. You should also know that any emails I receive from you and any responses that I send to you are considered to be a part of your medical record.
Business Review Sites
You may find my psychology practice listed or mentioned on sites such as Yelp, Healthgrades, Yahoo Local, Bing, etc. Some of these sites may have added my practice without my knowledge or consent. If you should find my listing on any of these sites, please know that it is NOT a request for a testimonial, rating, or endorsement.
Of course, you have a right to express yourself on any site you wish. But due to confidentiality considerations, I cannot and will not respond to a review on a site whether it is positive or negative. I would strongly counsel against using these sites to express your feelings about our work, since it is almost a certainty that I will never see it. But more importantly I hope that you would bring your feelings and reactions to our work directly into our sessions. This is an important part of therapy, even if you ultimately decide we are not a good fit.
Dr. Theresa Nicassio, Registered Psychologist (#1541)