I do maintain a separate business email that is available to clients. However, it is important to be aware that email is not considered to be a completely secure or private form of communication. Emails may be retained in the logs of yours or my service providers. Although unlikely, it is possible for system administrators to view logs of email communication.
Given these privacy limitations, I prefer to use email solely for scheduling and general questions about my practice. Please do not email me content related to your therapy sessions, as I cannot guarantee the information will be kept completely secure and confidential. Any material emailed to me may become part of your legal medical record and may need to be documented in your chart.
Social Network Sites (e.g. MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus, etc.)
As you may have noticed while exploring this site, I currently maintain pages for my therapy practice on several social networking sites. These sites provide a useful platform for sharing interesting information relating to mental health topics. Anyone is free to view these pages and choose to “like” or “subscribe” to them. However, for current and former clients, I feel it is important to note that by interacting with me or my practice on social networking sites, you may compromise your own privacy and confidentiality as a client.
While you are free to subscribe to my public pages, I generally do not accept friend or contact requests from current or former clients. 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.
Please do not use 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 this way 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.
SMS (Text) Messaging
I am not equipped to accept SMS (text) messages via mobile phone from clients at this time.
For clients who regularly utilize location-based services such as Foursquare, Gowalla, etc., you may wish to be aware of the privacy limitations related to using those services. Regularly checking-in from my office location may lead others to conclude that you are a therapy client in my practice. Please be aware of these limitations if you are actively checking-in from my office or if you have passive GPS-based services automatically checking in via your mobile phone.
Online Review Sites
You may find my psychology practice listed 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 Psychology, which oversees licensing, and they will review the services I have provided.
Board of Psychology
2005 Evergreen Street, Suite 1400
Sacramento, CA 95815