Therapists in my consulting practice frequently complain of a high no-show rate, especially with new clients. They often feel powerless to enforce their policies fearing if they’re too strict, clients will drop out of treatment.
I used to have this problem, too, and ended up feeling resentful when I had rushed to get to my scheduled session only to have a client no-show. There were also those days when a handful of clients who didn’t show up or cancelled at the last minute. Since I was paying for child care there were times when I actually lost money by going to work. I knew something had to change.
Where do I go for trusted information on ethical use of social media for therapists? Here are the top 3 resources on the cutting edge of online ethics for mental health therapists that I find myself referencing time and time again. I have taken their online courses, read dozens of their articles, signed up for newsletters, and of course, I follow all of them on social media sites.
Here my top three recommendations, links to my favorite resources on each site, and their social media links so you can follow them:
The Online Therapy Institute, co-founded by DeAnna Marz Nagel, & Kate Anthony, is a premiere resource for all things digital. OTI and Keely Kolmes, Psy.D. created a comprehensive Ethical Framework for the Use of Social Media by Mental Health Professionals that is an invaluable resource. Also, watch Nagel and Anthony discuss common online scenarios therapists face online in this Ethics and Social Media video.
Social media ethics are starting to be addressed by mental health professional organizations or licensing boards but those guidelines, if they exist, are generally vague.
It’s important for clinicians to take time to think through the implications of their online interactions on clients to avoid dual relationships, putting client’s privacy at risk, or jeopardizing the therapeutic relationship.
Including a written social media policy as a client’s initial treatment contract helps clarify how technology will be used in client-therapist interaction so it doesn’t interfere with treatment.
I’ve spent months writing about how to effectively use technology, and social media in particular, to build your private mental health practice. While the Internet has opened up exciting new ways for mental health therapists in private practice to market their practice, reach potential clients, and educate the public, it has also allowed for new ethical dilemmas.
When I first started practicing nearly two decades ago, I was concerned about my child being on the same soccer team as a client’s child, or about running into clients at parties of mutual friends. The increasing Internet usage by therapists and clients alike has created new opportunities for dual relationships online. Over the coming weeks I’ll be discussing ways to use social media ethically in the digital age.
Here are a just few examples of digital dual relationship dilemmas that therapists now face:
Pin A Quote is a quick and fun way to create a graphic out of your favorite quotes. It allows you to highlight any text and with the click of a button, turn it into a shareable graphic that is automatically links to the site where you found the text. Though it’s designed to interface with Pinterest, you don’t have to have a Pinterest account to use Pin A Quote.
Once you’ve selected the quote and created your graphic, Pin A Quote creates a custom URL for that specific quote that you can share on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media sites, and of course, Pinterest.
Collaborative psychiatrist Kelli Hyland, MD‘s office space in Salt Lake City, UT is unlike most traditional medical office spaces. What’s impressive is that it is both functional and funky, and accurately reflects Kelli’s collaborative style and approach to treatment. I love how Kelli has set up the waiting room to function as a personal work space and a colleague consultation room.
For additional information on Dr. Kelli Hyland’s collaborative psychiatry practice in Salt Lake City visit KelliHylandMD.com.