Social Media Policy

“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve.”
Dr. Napoleon Hill

In this day and age, social media is everywhere.

Depending on your industry and role, the grey zone produced by being connected to clients online may have detrimental effects to your work together. It is your job to be monitoring the appropriateness of any online interactions you have with clients or individuals connected with clients.

Most regulatory bodies have very specific guidelines around what is – and isn’t – considered appropriate. Clients may not have thought through the implications of wanting to be connected online. Additionally it becomes very hard to maintain appropriate boundaries through most, if not all, social media platforms. Use your best judgement and consider what is in the best interest of the therapeutic relationship when creating your Social Media Policy.

Below is an excerpt from the BCACC Code of Ethics Brief regarding Social Media:

“Many therapists and counsellors take the position that “friend” invitations will neither be accepted nor issued under any circumstances. RCCs are required to very carefully consider the potential implications of “friending” a student, client or former client. Being friended by, or friending students, clients or former clients has a risk of breaching confidentiality, or leading to dual relationships that would not be acceptable under the Code of Ethical Conduct. There may be other impacts on the professional relationship depending on the information disclosed. If the potential impact constitutes or could reasonably lead to a breach of the Code of Ethical Conduct, the RCC should not accept or issue a “friend” invitation. In addition, RCCs are urged to consult any relevant policies or codes set by the organization, such as a university or clinic, where the relationship exists. Where the student, client or former client has issued a “friend” invitation, the RCC’s reasons for not accepting the invitation can, and often should, be explored in person.”

Most regulatory bodies use similar language when warning their members against connecting to clients online.  Check your associations guidelines for your specific circumstances.

Potential Scripting:

Due to the nature of the therapeutic relationship, I am not able to accept any online requests to be linked with clients on any social media platforms. This means I cannot accept friend requests or follow clients through various social media platforms. (If there are exceptions to this, insert here) If during the course of our therapy together, you wish me to view aspects of your online profile/s, the impact of sharing or viewing that information will be discussed to determine an appropriate course of action.