This document outlines my office policies related to the use of technology and social media. Please read it to understand how I conduct myself on the Internet as a mental health professional and how you can expect me to respond to various interactions that may occur between us on the Internet.

If you have any questions about anything within this document, I encourage you to contact me to discuss. As new technology develops and the Internet changes, there may be times when I need to update this policy. If I do so, I will notify you in writing of any policy changes and ensure you have a copy of the updated policy.

Friending

I do not accept friend or contact requests from current or former clients on any social networking site (FaceBook, LinkedIn, etc). 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 professional relationship. If you have questions about this, please bring them up when we meet, and we can talk more about it.

Following

I occasionally post information, “like”, or retweet other people’s tweets and articles on Twitter or LinkedIn. I cannot stop clients from following my Twitter stream. However, if you use an easily recognizable name on Twitter and I happen to notice you follow me there, we might discuss it and its potential impact on our working relationship.
I do not follow clients on Twitter.

Text (SMS)

If you wish to contact me via text, please do so only to book an appointment, advise if you are running late for an appointment, or wish for me to contact you. Texting is not secure, and I may not read your message in a timely fashion. Any time you text me, it will be documented in your file, and could become part of a legal proceeding. You might not receive an answer from me for several days after you send your message via text. If I am out of the country, it is possible I will not receive your text until I return to Canada.

Use of search engines

It is not a regular part of my practice to search for clients on Google, FaceBook, or other search engines. Extremely rare exceptions may be made during times of crisis. If I have a reason to suspect that you are in danger and I cannot reach you via telephone, there might be an instance in which using a search engine (to find you or to find someone close to you) becomes necessary as part of ensuring your welfare. These are unusual situations and if I ever resort to such means; I will fully document it and discuss it with you when we next meet.

Business Review Sites

You may find information on my practice on sites which list businesses, such as Yelp, etc. 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.

Of course, you have the 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 discuss with me directly your feelings about our work. 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.

Please note that although I may be using technology while outside the Province of Ontario I am not currently registered as a social worker in any province or country and they are not responsible or able to respond to any complaints.

Please note that if you are unhappy with the outcome of a mediation or custody assessment, it does not mean that I have not done my job ethically. It is your right to disagree with any recommendations I make. Not all clients find resolution despite my best efforts to assist your family.

Location Based Services

If you are using a location-based service on your mobile phone, you may wish to be aware of the privacy issues related to using these services. If you have GPS tracking enabled on your device, it is possible that others may see that you are attending my office. Please be aware of any risks to yourself of this.

Email

Since most of my days are spent in meetings with clients, it is not always possible for me to return telephone calls immediately. The quickest way to reach me is often via email. However, please use email only to ask me to contact you, or to book or change appointments. Email is not completely secure nor confidential. All emails are retained in the logs of your and my Internet service providers. While it is unlikely that someone will be looking at these logs, they are, in theory, available to be read by the system administrator(s) of the Internet service provider. You should also know that any emails I receive from you and any response that I send to you become a part of your file and may become part of a legal record.

Zoom

I often meet with clients via Zoom. It is not my policy to record meetings and I would ask that in order to respect everyone’s right to privacy and confidentiality, you do not record meetings in any way.

I use Zoom Pro, which is compliant with the standards of the Personal Health Information Privacy Act 2004, S.O. 2004 (PHIPA), and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PHIPEDA). However, although Zoom Pro meets the standards for confidentiality and security, I cannot guarantee 100% confidentiality when we are using any technological platform to communicate.

You will find more detailed information on the use of Zoom for meetings in the Retainer Agreement Addendum and the Zoom Etiquette Guidelines that I may have sent you separately. If you would like copies of these documents, please contact me.

Conclusion

Thank you for taking the time to review my Technology and Social Media Policy. If you have any questions or concerns about any of these policies and procedures, please bring them to my attention so that we can discuss them.