Social Media Policy
Social Media is nearly a universal tool used by individuals, businesses, and institutions. I also use social media in various forms for professional and personal purposes. As a requirement of registration with the B.C. Association of Clinical Counsellors (BCACC), I have a social media policy that outlines my relationship to social media as it relates to my clients. Please read and understand what to expect from me as a social media user and a mental health professional. It also communicates my course of action under several different circumstances if our paths were to cross on the internet.
If you are a current or incoming client and have questions about my social media policy, bring them to our next session or send me an email and we can talk about it further. Social media is an excellent tool for many purposes and is evolving quickly. This policy may change to reflect this evolution in the future, and I will always advise my clients of any changes as they happen and post the update on my website.
In my role as a registered counsellor (RCC), I am bound by complete confidentiality and will not ever share details about clients or sessions except, in cases where a client might harm themselves or others. For more details, see our Informed Consent agreement.
For clients, you can decide what information you bring to sessions to share with me. You also have the choice to disclose our relationship or your mental health status with others, including on the internet. If you choose to post on my social media pages, follow my accounts, or mention me online, there is a chance that others will become aware of your connection to my practice. It is your choice whether or not to disclose details, and that being said, I will not reveal my connection to you online or through any other means.
This is how I handle social media:
Friending and Networking
I do not accept friend, connection, or contact requests from any of my clients (past or present) on social networking sites. This includes Facebook, LinkedIn, and others. Doing so, in my opinion, can compromise confidentiality with regards to our relationship as well as impacting our respective right to privacy. I do not follow, nor do I interact with clients on social media.
If you need to contact me, the best and most direct way is through email or phone.
As a client of my practice, you are under no obligation to follow or interact with any of my social media accounts or media work. That goes for Twitter, Instagram, podcasts, events, and more. You are welcome to use your own discretion in choosing whether to follow me; please note that I will not follow you back.
I take this approach because I believe in the relationship-building work of therapy. What my clients choose to share with me during our sessions is a reflection of what they believe to be important to our work together. I don’t believe that having access to information about my clients that they haven’t chosen to share with me directly positively impacts our working relationship. It bears the risk of blurring the lines between treatment-related activities and seeking out the online lives of clients out of my own curiosity. Viewing clients’ online life without their consent can lead to negative repercussions on our working relationship.
If clients wish to share part of their online lives with me for counselling purposes, we can certainly look at it together with a specific purpose in mind during a session.
Even under circumstances where, say, you wish to leave a testimonial about your experience, I am bound by BCACC and CCPA codes of ethics which prohibit solicitation of testimonials from clients. As such, I make a habit of deleting comments that discuss my practice on all platforms.
Please use email or phone to contact me. I do not use social media or social networking sites, including but not limited to comments, @ replies, or direct messages, to communicate with clients. Please do not use these means of communication if we have an established client/practitioner relationship. They can impact confidentiality and privacy since they are unsecured modes of communication, plus messages on these platforms are not my professional priority and I have no established timeline for response.
The best way to reach me is by phone or email.
If you engage with my social media, it may become possible that those exchanges will become a part of your legal medical record and I will archive them in your chart. I will delete any requests or comments regarding your sessions that appear on any of my social media platforms.
I never do background or social media searches on my clients, nor do I look up any information about them for any reason. The information that you share with me during our sessions is what you have chosen to disclose, and that is the information that is important to our relationship. I will never seek out information about clients outside of our meetings. If I do come across any client-related information online, please know that I will avoid it.
There are exceedingly rare occasions where exceptions may be made to this rule during times of crisis. If I have reason to believe that you are in danger or if you haven’t been in touch using our regular means of communication (appointments, phone calls, and email), there may be an instance where I would use a search engine to ensure your welfare. This may entail finding the contact information of someone close to you or checking recent status updates. These situations are uncommon; if I do ever resort to these measures, I will document the events and discuss it with you at our next meeting.
Business Review Sites
My counselling practice may be listed on business sites like Bing, Google, Google My Business, Yelp, Yahoo Local, and other listings. Businesses often appear as a result of automatic listings created by the business sites themselves, regardless of whether the owner chooses to be included or not. Each of these sites encourage users to leave comments and reviews for products and service providers. If you come across my practice on any of these sites, please understand that the presence of a listing is not a request for comments, endorsements, ratings, or testimonials from you as a client of my practice.
The BCACC Standard for Promoting and Advertising Services states that, “an RCC should never solicit testimonials, expressly or by implication, from clients or other persons who, because of their particular circumstances, may be vulnerable to undue influence.” (BCACC Code of Ethical Conduct and Standards of Clinical Practice and Guidelines for Registered Clinical Counsellors, 2011)
You have the ability and the right to express your opinion on any platform you desire. However, I am bound by confidentiality rules that preclude me from responding to or acknowledging these reviews in any manner, whether they are positive or negative. It is also important to note that any published reviews or indirect feedback about my practice may not reach me through those channels.
If you feel inclined to share an opinion about the quality of our work together, I encourage you to share it with me during a session. This can be an important insight into our working relationship, even if you decide we are not a good fit.
All of this being said, there is nothing to keep you from sharing that you are receiving counselling support from me. Confidentiality rules entail that I can’t share information regarding your status as a client, and that I can’t ask for testimonials. However, feel free to share that I’m your therapist or your opinion on your treatment with anyone you feel comfortable doing so.
Keep in mind that if you decide to post something on a review forum, you will be sharing personal information that is potentially revealing in a public space. I encourage you to post under a different name that can’t be traced back to you in order to protect your privacy.
If you wish to discuss concerns about potentially harmful or unethical practices on my part and you don’t feel comfortable bringing it up with me, you can reach out to the professional agencies with whom I am registered.
BC Association of Clinical Counsellors
#14 – 2544 Dunlevy Street
Victoria, British Columbia V8R 5Z2
Telephone: (250) 595-4448
Toll free in Canada: 1-800-909-6303
Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association
#114-223 Colonnade Rd S
Ottawa, ON K2E 7K3
Telephone: (613) 237-1099
Toll free in Canada: 1-877-765-5565
Mobile Tracking and Location Services
If your mobile devices are equipped with GPS or location-based tracking services, you may wish to disable them during physical or mental health treatment to protect your privacy. If you travel to appointments, others may be able to deduce information about your health status based on your location.
Further Discussion on Social Media and Privacy
Thank you for reviewing my social media policies. If you have questions or wish to discuss any of the details included above, please bring them to our next session or reach out to me by phone or email.
How does this work?
If I had to wager a guess, you’re here to figure out whether I am a good fit to be your therapist. The fastest way to do that is to schedule a free consultation, and go from there!