In order to maintain clarity regarding our use of electronic modes of communication during your treatment, I have prepared the following policy. This is because the use of various types of electronic communications is common in our society, and many individuals believe this is the preferred method of communication with others, whether their relationships are social or professional. Many of these common modes of communication, however, put your privacy at risk, blur the boundaries of our therapeutic relationship, and can be inconsistent with the law and with the standards of my profession. Consequently, this policy has been prepared to assure the security and confidentiality of your treatment and to assure that it is consistent with ethics and the law.
If you have any questions about this policy, please feel free to discuss this with me.
I do not consider unencrypted email a secure form of communication to discuss or communicate about clinical matters because email is not a secure way to contact me. If you need to discuss a clinical matter with me, please feel free to write it down and bring it to session so we can discuss it during your therapy session. If you need to contact me between sessions about scheduling and/or billing matters, the best way to do so is by phone. The telephone or face-to-face context simply is much more secure as a mode of communication.
Because text messaging is a very unsecure and impersonal mode of communication, I do not text message to nor do I respond to text messages from potential, current or former clients. I use a secure phone application which has text messaging disabled. This means that if you choose to text my office number, the message will not be delivered to the number. For this reason, please call when communicating with our office. Please do not use SMS (mobile phone text messaging) or messaging on Social Networking sites such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn to contact me. These sites are not secure, I typically do not check these messages at all or in a timely fashion. Please 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 or have had one. Engaging with me this way could compromise your confidentiality.
If needed, you may choose to receive appointment reminders from my office for your (or your child’s if said child is the client) appointment. This text message is coming from a secure program, but not directly from myself or anyone who works in my office. For this reason, please do not reply to the message you receive, as I will not receive it. If you need to schedule or cancel your appointment, please do so within 24 hours of your appointment time. Because technology is not perfect, if you are not sent the text message from the system, you are still responsible for remembering your appointment date/time. Please let me know if you would rather have an appointment card, and I will provide you with one to write the date/time on at your request.
I do not communicate with, or contact, any of my clients (potential, current, or former) through social media platforms. In addition, if I discover that I have accidentally established an online relationship with you, I will cancel that relationship. This is because these types of casual social contacts can create significant security risks for you and may potential impair our therapeutic (client-therapist) relationship. For this reason, we ask that clients not engage (i.e., like, comment, pin, re-tweet, etc.) with me (or my office’s) content that can be found online.
I participate on various social networks for marketing/entertainment/personal purposes but not only strictly in a professional therapeutic capacity. If you have an online presence, there is a possibility that you may encounter me by accident. If that occurs, please discuss it with me during our time together. I believe that any communications with clients online have a high potential to compromise the professional relationship. In addition, please do not try to contact me in this way. I will not respond and will terminate any online contact no matter how accidental.
I do not accept friend or contact requests from current or former clients on any social networking site. 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 and has the potential to cause ethical dilemmas. I kindly ask that clients do not engage with me or anyone from my office in this manner by friending/following/connecting on these sites. 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, during the therapy hour.
I have a website that you are free to access. I use it for professional reasons only to provide information to others about me and my practice. You are welcome to access and review the information that I have on my website and, if you have questions about it, we should discuss this during your therapy sessions.
I understand that you might choose to gather information about me or my office via the use of online search engines. In this day and age there is an incredible amount of information available about individuals on the internet, much of which may actually be known to that person and some of which may be inaccurate or unknown. If you encounter any information about me through web searches, or in any other fashion for that matter, please discuss this with me during our time together so that we can deal with it and its potential impact on your (or your child’s if said child is the client) treatment.
Recently it has become fashionable for clients to review their health care provider on various websites. Unfortunately, mental health professionals cannot respond to such comments and related errors because of confidentiality restrictions. If you encounter such reviews of me that bother you, please share it with me so we can discuss it and its potential impact on your therapy. However, please be advised that the conversation may be limited due to confidentiality and privacy laws.
Business Review Sites
You may find my psychology 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 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 (or parent/guardian if said child is the client).
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. I do not place my practice as a check-in location on any websites. However, if you have GPS tracking enabled on your device, it is possible that others may surmise that you are a therapy client due to regular check-ins at my office on a weekly basis. Please be aware of this risk if you are intentionally “checking in,” from my office or if you have a passive LBS app enabled on your phone.
Thank you for taking the time to review my Electronic Communication 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.
Last Updated 10/05/2021